The Authority Icon: AUSTIN OKERE
For being an inspirational dreamer and business pragmatist who challenged the giants in their own peculiar arena and recorded resounding success; for being proudly Nigerian and demonstrating to the youth that notwithstanding the multiple challenges of life, with vision, discipline and focus, success will follow, Austin Kwesi Okere, is The AUTHORITY Icon.
He navigates with a stern personal discipline, compelling focus and endearing humility. Not surprisingly, he remains unaffected by the great business altitude he has attained in his chosen career. Meet Austin Okere, Group Managing Director of Computer Warehouse Group, CWG, Lagos.
Born of an Imo State father and Ghanaian mother, Okere had his primary and secondary education in Ghana. After completing his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Lagos (1986), and Agricultural Science from the University of Ghana, Legon, Austin served out his compulsory National Service (NYSC) with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC. He had hoped to secure a permanent job with the corporation, but that was not to be. He has MBA from the prestigious Lagos Business School and another MBA degree from the international Graduate School of Management (IESE), Navara, Spain.
Steeped in the humility of his Ghanaian mother and the aggressiveness of his Igbo father, Austin has managed to leapfrog all odds to survive and prosper in an arena largely perceived as the preserve of Western companies. When the extremely enterprising young man resigned his sales and marketing job with Inlaks Computers Ltd. in Lagos to found Computer Warehouse Ltd., which is into the supply and maintenance of computer hardware and ancillary equipment, only a seer could have predicted his future thereafter.
It was a masterstroke of youthful vision that he left Inlaks on a friendly note, as he soon became their dealer. His business philosophy is to keep the customer happy -let them speak well of you. Through that he got many references, from one corporate customer to another. In 1997, Dell Corporation, UK, invited him to accept the Dell Distribution Award for the fastest growing business in Africa territories. His Computer Warehouse is today Dell’s sole service centre in Nigeria.
In the two decades, through sheer determination, hard work, and far-sighted focus, he has grown CWG Ltd from ground zero to an enviable international status. This tremendous growth saw the birth of Digital Computer Communications Limited that specialises in wide area network, local area network and systems integration. Expert Edge Software and Systems Limited is another company that was incorporated as a result of the fantastic growth of the parent company, Computer Warehouse Group Ltd. Expert Edge is involved in software development, systems analysis, design and implementation, SmartCard application and packaged training on software.
In 1997, Corporate Press Services honoured him with Men of Achievement Award. So many awards by appreciative industry analysts and close watchers followed. Okere is a member of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group where he serves in the infrastructure development committee.
He is a member of several professional and leadership bodies, including ICT Advisory Board, Nigerian Competitive Council. He also serves on the Executive Committee of the Nigerian-South African Chamber of Commerce. He has been recognized and honoured locally and internationally with many awards in recognition of his contribution to the information and communications technology world.
He is married and has children.