“If you believe, you can, you will”
Sponsored by ExxonMobil and The Royal Society of Engineers, Michael’s Ph.D specialised in the enhancement technology of complex, multi-phase, heat transfer industrial fluidisation flows. Results and synopsis from his doctoral programme have been published in a variety of distinguished international engineering Journals (e.g. Chemical Engineering Science, Feb 2008). In 2003, Michael won the prestigious HTFS (Heat Transfer and Fluid Flow Services) Aspen Technology ‘Best Research Paper’ award at The 8th UK National Heat Transfer Conference, Oxford University.
From humble beginnings
The second of five surviving children, Michael was born in Nigeria in 1978 and - after spending his formative years devoting himself to rigorous academic study at the behest of caring but strict parents – was sent away to the alien surroundings of an English Catholic boarding school at the age of 12.
The six years that followed were among the most difficult of Michael’s young life. Struggling under the weight of trying to ‘fit in’ with his peers, Michael’s hitherto outstanding academic performance faded into a distant memory. Other than his discovery of the school gym (which reawakened his dormant passion for weightlifting), there was little solace to be found.
However, it was the opening of his disappointing A Level results which marked a turning point in Michael’s life. He decided there and then to not let his past dictate his future; on that day, Michael took the most important decision any of us can take – to dedicate himself, whatever obstacles were to arise, to a life of continuous self-improvement.
“True courage is to act in the midst of fear’”
Possibly the most important chapter in his life, the decade that Michael spent in undergraduate and postgraduate education at the University of Edinburgh was a period which (although often punctuated by moments of pain, loss and defeat) saw him take his biggest steps towards fulfilling his true potential.
Driven on by a relentless determination to succeed at all costs, Michael’s university years were defined by his achieving great things academically, in weightlifting and in his personal life – in other words, in mind, body and soul.
Achieving New Heights
Following his post-graduate studies, in mid-2006, Michael was appointed to the role of ‘Executive Director Corporate Strategy’ on the Board of Arik Air Ltd, at start-up phase. Head-quartered in Lagos, Nigeria, ‘Arik Air’ (with a fleet of 28 aircraft) rapidly, and successfully, expanded its operations across the Nigerian, West African and Intercontinental aviation sectors. As a Founding Director, Michael was involved in all areas of the entrepreneurial venture, including: fleet evaluation, acquisition and financing; commercial and strategic planning/ execution; organisational planning/resourcing; and government and bilateral affairs. Michael was also assigned the concurrent task of setting up Arik Air International Ltd, UK (launched 2007) which served as the London based overseas corporate office for Arik Air Ltd.
Michael has completed a diet of USA based, aviation centred, management programs designed and administered by The Boeing Company, USA. In 2013, graduating top of his class, he obtained an Executive MBA (with Distinction/First Class) from Imperial College London, UK. He was awarded The Imperial College Business School Prize for Best Overall Performance, Executive MBA. In the same year, Michael was further selected as Imperial College Business School’s nominated candidate for the Association of MBA’s (i.e. AMBA: the global MBA affiliating body) coveted ‘MBA Student of the Year’ award.
From Dec 2009 to Feb 2017, he served as Group CEO/President of both Arik Air Ltd, Nigeria and Arik Air International Ltd, UK. During the period of his stewardship, with a network including long-haul routes to the UK, USA, UAE and South Africa, Arik Air grew to become West & Central Africa’s premier and dominant commercial passenger air carrier.
“Discipline is a keen blade - deadly in the hands of a skilled practioner”
In relation to sports, Michael holds an Edinburgh University Weightlifting ‘Full Blue’ Award (i.e. a British university’s highest premier accolade for consistent sporting excellence at National level); is a former British Junior Weightlifting Champion; and remains an avid health/ wellness enthusiast. At present, Michael is an Amateur Physique athlete competing within the UK Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation (UKBFF) – the UK’s leading physique federation. In 2016, Michael debuted at the UKBFF London and South East Championships, winning both the Bronze trophy (Tall Class) and qualification for the subsequent British Championship Finals held in October 2016. Furthermore, during his period at the University of Edinburgh, in addition to his competitive sporting activities, Michael was also represented on the books of Scotland’s leading Modelling and Public Relations (PR) agency: The Model Team of Scotland. In this capacity, Michael was successfully employed in a variety of campaigns for clients in the Fashion, Luxury retail and Media sectors – examples include brands such as Alfred Dunhill, Oscar de la Renta, MTV, NBC (USA), House of Frasers etc.
Channelling his long-standing love for health and wellness, Michael recently incorporated “The Odissean Residence (UK) Ltd”, and has successfully launched (in April 2017) his social media brand “The Odissean Experience”. Taken together, Michael intends to utilise these Odissean brands as “high-end / high-performance” vehicles for promoting health, wellness and self-improvement.
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