by Our Reporter
A send-forth was held for the outgoing Managing Director of Nigerite Limited, Mr Jean-Luc Viatour, at Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Ikeja, Lagos on Saturday. TAJUDEEN ADEBANJO was there
The Club, a moderate but exquisite hall at Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Ikeja, Lagos is renowned for big events, especially the ones organised by corporate organisations.
Last Saturday, it hosted another one – Nigerite family’s dinner – between 7pm and 10pm.
At the centre of the ornately decorated hall was the Bar from where waiters served guests choice drinks.
The company’s top echelon sat in a reserved area on the right side of the hall facing other guests.
At the extreme left was a stretch table with beautiful overlays. Various cuisines from local to Africa and foreign were spread on the table.
There was also a band dishing out good music to the admiration of the guests.
It was all for one of the brains behind the company’s success. Jean-Luc Viatour, who is leaving the company this month.
Nigerite Limited was incorporated in Nigeria on April 29, 1959 as a joint venture between Etex Group of Belgium and O’dua Investment Limited of Nigeria. At over 52, the roofing and ceiling company is today the largest organisation in West Africa engaged in the manufacturing, marketing and installation of polyvinyl fibre cement, roofing and ceiling sheets, among other products.
It is a building component solution company providing employment for over 700 Nigerians.
The company is the only one in Nigeria to have won the annual award of the best kept industrial premises for over 10 times from 1993 to date.
To appreciate the dedication of Viatour, who has spent 30 years in the company, the management held a send-forth for him.
The four-in-one activity began with a visit to the headquarters of the parent company – O’dua Investment Limited of Nigeria in Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State.
Last Friday, the Board of Directors convened a special meeting at the company’s office at Ogba, Lagos, where Viatour’s exit was formally ratified and a new Managing Director appointed.
From there, they moved to Protea Hotel, Ikeja for a luncheon.
On Saturday when they gathered at Sheraton, it was tributes galore.
The reception featured prayers, eulogies, musical interlude, presentation of gifts and dance.
In his welcome address, the Board of Directors Chairman, Dr Femi Orebe said Viatour deserved all the honour bestowed on him.
Dr Orebe said the company cannot thank Viatour enough.
“He is leaving after ensuring that Nigerite is going into a N4.5 billion naira investment to be completed soon,” he said.
He wished him well in his next endeavour.
Dr Orebe accompanied by his wife, Tina said the company had a worthy successor in Mr Albert Tenorio.
“He has served in many countries; we cannot be luckier in terms of quality personnel at our disposal,” he said.
Nigerite, Dr Orebe boasted, is the most successful of all the companies founded by the late Premier of the Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
He promised the new Managing Director that the board representing over 50 million of the Yorubas would give him adequate support.
Former Chairman, Odua’a Investment Group, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi described Viatour as a friend and brother.
“He worked very hard and had a successful tenure. I’m sure the future of Nigerite is secured with the new helmsman,” he said.
Adelusi-Adeluyi told Tenorio that Nigerians are warm people “open up to them and you won’t regret it.”
Viatour’s predecessor, Mr Thiery Dumont thanked him for improving the company’s lots.
He prayed Tenorio does better.
Tenorio described the challenge as a huge task and promised not to disappoint them.
“A man with a lot of experience is leaving; I’m grateful to him for guiding me through a new culture in Nigeria. Nigerians have been so kind to me and my wife – nice people, good culture and very warmly,” he said.
Viatour, who holds a Bsc in Electrical Engineering as well as an MBA from the University of Liege, Belgium could not thank the management and staff enough.
“You are all wonderful people; I will forever cherish my long years in this beautiful country. Thank you for all you have done for me, especially the gifts,” he said.
There was a photo session and the night was rap up with dance.