I Will Retire in 5 years- Odigbo
Founder and Chairman of Casers Group, Eyinnaya Odigbo is set to retire in five years. But he will only step down from his exalted position once there is a capable person to step into his big shoes.
Odigbo, known for his fierce doggedness and thoroughness, told the MARKETING EDGE team in his office that he does not intend to run his highly successful agency perpetually, but that it is important the person coming after him is able to drive the vision to a higher level.
“I don’t want to make this an announcement. I am 58 now, so I should be thinking of retirement. Within the next five years if I find a successor who can take it on, I will retire. That is on the condition that the business is alive and going,” Odigbo said.
A former Brand Manager at both Beecham and NB Plc, he recalled that he was driven to join the agency from the client side because of his passion to do things differently. “I found out that my agencies were not getting the point that was being made at the time. That kind of made me come over and work with them, to see whether I could help stir the ship differently,” he said.
Odigbo’s breakthrough in business came when his agency, which later transmuted to DDB Lagos after it entered into an affiliation with New York City, based DDB Worldwide, won the MTN account. It was an account that transformed the agency from being middle-size to becoming one of the biggest agencies in Nigeria.
He recalled that the MTN pitch was one that drove him to the extreme of creativity. “It was a pitch that I and my team made a very momentous decision to say we were going to give it everything we had. And I actually made a commitment to say if we don’t win the pitch I will resign. We took everything that was in our kitty and committed it to that pitch,” he recalled.
Odigbo, a graduate of Zoology from the University of Nigeria, Nsuka, told MARKETING EDGE that the reason he gave so much into getting the MTN account was because of a leadership course he attended in Istanbul, Turkey. “They told us that if you don’t have 120 percent resources to win a business don’t even participate in the pitch. That stuck in my head and i knew we have to do more,” he said.
With the MTN account in his kitty, Odigbo became a reference point in the integrated and marketing communications sector in Nigeria. And over time, DDB Lagos moved from being a one company agency to becoming a group of agencies under the Casers Group, with offices in nine countries on the West African coast (Nigeria, Cameroun, and Cote devoir, Congo Brazzaville, Benin, Guinea Conakry, Guinea Bissau, Liberia and Ghana).
A former President of BBD Africa and Advertising Agencies Association of Nigeria, AAAN, Odigbo noted that Casers Group’s spread across West Africa, gives it an edge over other agencies in the region and makes it a unique and strategic partner for any brand that desires to make an impact in the West and Central African market.