If the name Diamond Bank still rings a bell, then you should know who Paschal Gabriel Dozie is. Counting as one of the most accomplished businessmen in Nigeria, Mr. Dozies Business pursuit spans over 48 Years. He has no doubt enjoyed a fulfilling career in the field of Finance and Business in the Nigerian Economy.
Although he is mainly known as the founder of Diamond Bank Plc, his investments are not tied to the Banking and Finance sector alone. He has served as heads of different boards, as he served as the pioneer chairman of MTN Nigeria.
This September, Mr. Paschal Dozie will step down as the Chairman of MTN Nigeria. Loanhub presents Dozie as the Subject of Founders Profile this week.
Dozie was born in 1939, in egbu, Owerri, Imo state. His Father was the catholic catechist, Dozie attended Our Lady’s School Emekuku, where he obtained his First School Leaving Certificate. At Holy Ghost Juniorate Seminary and Holy Ghost College, Owerri, he obtained his West African School Certificate Exams.
Dozie studied Economics at the London School of Economics, where he obtained his BSc in Economics. Subsequently, at City University London he obtained Degrees in Operational Research and Industrial Engineering. In the same institute, he bagged a degree in Administrative Science.
Between 1967 and 1970 while studying abroad, Dozie couldn’t return home because of the Biafran war. He recalled events during that period in an interview with Forbes:
“It was a very traumatic period for us. Bombs were going off everywhere and you didn’t know what the truth was. People were being shunted from one place to another and at times I didn’t even know where my own mother was.”
With the Biafran War, Dozie could not return to Nigeria. He accepted a job in Uganda between 1970 and 1971, he served as the African States Consulting Organisation in East Africa, he came back to Nigeria in 1971, a few months after the Biafran War.
Mr. Paschal Dozie returned to Nigeria After quitting his Job in east Africa. With rich experience in econometrics and industrial engineering, he gave birth to his first company; African Development Consulting Group (ADCG), a consultancy firm.
The need to make business transactions for traders to be safer and easier gave birth to Diamond Bank. He applied for a banking license in 1985 and after a year wait, CBN granted him his request, in 1990, Diamond bank was born, with a starting capital of $5 million.
“When we set up Diamond bank, it became technologically driven right from the word go because we wanted to change the system and eradicate the delay in making transactions,” he shared this in an interview with Vanguard.
The South African Telecom group, MTN had approached Mr. Dozie about setting up a cellphone market in the Nigerian Market. With promises of pumping in millions in its 60% stake, with Nigerians owning 40%.
MTN Group had approached Dozie with an idea of setting up a subsidiary of the cellphone network in the Nigerian market. The South African firm promised to pump millions into a 60% stake in MTN Nigeria, with Nigerians owning 40%.
Filled with high hopes, he turned to Nigerian Money-Men for capital raise, this thought him a hard lesson. Those he talked to, saw the struggle of NITEL, which was government-owned, they concluded that telecom was not where their money will go to.
“It was very disappointing. You have a good project and you are turned down. You start to question yourself and start to question your head,” he said.
In the end, Paschal Dozie could only raise capital for a 20% stake in the new company. with debt funding, MTN poured in millions to make up the difference. It was a huge risk, at the time, but MTN prospered and the rest is history. For 18 years, he Mr. Paschal Dozie has served as the Chairman of MTN Nigeria, though his stay would be coming to an end on September 2, 2019.
“Most of the people I asked to invest now regret not investing—I even regret it myself. They would have enjoyed returns of 20 times their money,” he said.
Dozie, who founded Diamond Bank along with a team of professionals. He directed the affairs of the institution as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) until he retired from the executive position in December 2005.
He is a former Director of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and erstwhile President of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). And until recently, Dozie was Chairman of Nigerian Economic Summit Group and Nigeria Business Support Group.
Dozie is currently serving as a co-chair of the Commonwealth Business Council, and the incumbent Chairman of Kunoch Limited.
Like all businessmen, it has not been all glory for Pascal Dozie, as he has experienced his fair share of challenges in the course of his exploits.
In 2005, Diamond Bank faced the prospects of extinction when the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), mandated that all banks must hold a minimum of N25 billion in share capital. The development then wasn’t feasible for the company, with its N6.4 billion in share capital.
In order to survive, Dozie listed the shares of the bank to raise more, which subjected him to lose a large part of his stake including that of his family in the bank. In the end, it was a success story for him.
More so, when Dozie was at MTN Nigeria’s helms of affairs, the telco faced a major fine by the Federal Government. The fine which still lingers in the Nigerian media space, saw MTN cough out about N330 billion.
Dozie is married to Chinyere Dozie and they have five sons who have inherited their father’s entrepreneurial spirit as they have founded several successful ventures in different sectors of the economy.