As societies and organizations grapple with the complexities of fostering sustainable growth, the need to groom leaders who can rise up to this challenge has become a global priority.

The Pan Atlantic University Nigeria premier privately owned university, is among many institutions worldwide that are increasingly responding to this need by preparing their young graduates for leadership roles. The school recently invited the general manager for the Coca-Cola Nigeria Franchise, Adeola Adetunji, to share his leadership experience with undergraduate students of Business Administration as well as the faculty members.

Professor Juan Elegido, vice chancellor of the university, described Adetunji in his introductory remarks as “an exceptional leader of an exceptional company in Nigeria.” He noted that Coca-Cola’s sustained success was a clear evidence of effective leadership, a fact that made Adetunji the faculty’s preferred choice to inspire its students on the subject.

In an interactive session with the audience, Adetunji shared his personal story and his ongoing 22-year long career journey in The Coca-Cola Company as well as his perspective on leadership.

Vice Chancellor of Pan Atlantic University, professor Juan Elegido welcomes Adeola Adetunji to the school.

Adeola Adetunji speaks to students and faculty members at the Pan Atlantic University, Lagos.

“A leader takes an organization from where it is to where it is meant to be,” he told the audience, noting that the complexities of today’s world have made true leadership a much greater necessity and a much tougher responsibility at every level than ever before.

Acknowledging that myriad leadership principles exist, Adetunji said leadership essentially sums up to the 7Cs:

  • Clarity (of vision),
  • Communication,
  • Competence,
  • Courage,
  • Collaboration,
  • Congruence and
  • Commitment.

He illustrated each of these attributes with examples from some world-renowned leaders like Lee Kuan Yew, Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Ghandi and Nelson Mandela, and cited the relationship between The Coca-Cola Company and its bottling partners as a great example of collaboration. 

Adetunji’s speech inspired excited questions and commentaries from the audience, most of which relate to his experience with the company. “The Coca-Cola Company is truly a great place to work. Besides the fact that the beverage business itself is exciting, the company offers you the opportunity and support to build a great career that can span different operational and geographic areas,” Adetunji said. “Every new assignment comes with its own excitement and challenges that make it a completely new experience.”

Adetunji challenged the students to reflect on one of Plato’s sayings. “This place is the way it is because the people are the way they are,” and to make a personal commitment to be the true leaders that would take the country to where it ought to be, "he said. 

A cross section of the audience.

A student asks a question during the session.