Kola Aluko was ranked by Forbes Africa as one of the 40th Richest Africans, as well as included in the Top Ten list of Successful African Entrepreneurs to Follow on Twitter.
The New African Magazine (November 2013 issue) included Aluko in their 100 Most Influential Africans listing and issue.
Born Kolawole Aluko (Lagos, Nigeria, 20 October 1969), one of nine siblings. Aluko's mother is a pharmacist, his father, Chief Akanni Aluko (Chairman Island Club and High Chief in Ilesha, Osun State, Nigeria) a geologist. Chief Akanni Aluko is the only child of Mrs Adedoja Aluko from Ogbomosho, Oyo State, Nigeria. Kola Aluko attended Igbogbi College in Lagos. Aluko says, he was "from an early age very ambitious and I always knew I wanted to work for myself". “Highly competitive and keen on sports”, Aluko's entrepreneurial mind set saw him work in different industries, from pharmaceuticals to cars, before settling for the oil industry twenty years ago.
Kola Aluko co-founded Besse Oil, a pioneering oil trading company in Nigeria in 1995. Besse Oil, one of the first to obtain a credit line with major international banks, traded crude oil and fuel oil, and was also a major importer of gasoline.
Six years later, in 2001, Aluko founded Fossil Resources, an indigenous downstream oil and gas company, where he held the role of CEO.
In 2004, Kola Aluko formed Exoro Energy International, became CEO and moved into exploration and production. Exoro Energy partnered with a division of Weatherford, to showcase its exploration and production technology.
In 2007, the division of Weatherford was bought out and merged with Exoro Energy to form an independent company, Seven Energy.
Kola Aluko, with a team of Nigerian and international E&P executives, co-founded Atlantic Energy in 2011, a private upstream oil and gas company, with an increased focus on under-developed producing fields in Nigeria. In partnership with the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) Atlantic Energy focused mainly on Niger Delta assets, contracted and executed under Strategic Alliance Agreements (SAAs) with the NPDC.
In 2010, Aluko diversified into the aviation industry, becoming a member of the VistaJet advisory board, assisting with the West-African expansion of the Swiss-based luxury aviation company.
Kola Aluko is a co-founder of Made in Africa (MiAF), a foundation 'set up to support and fund master plans and feasibility studies for transformational and large scale developments and infrastructure projects across the African continent'. MiAF's other co-founder is the Ghanaian fashion designer Oswald Boateng.
On 26 September 2013, MiAF launched the Africa50 fund at New York's NASDAQ, Africa's largest infrastructure investment vehicle to date. MiAF, in alliance with the African Development Bank (ADB), aims to raise US$500 million for Africa50 by early 2014. The two institutions are supported by the investment expertise of Capri Global Capital - a US-based investment advisory founded by African-American fund manager Quintin E. Primo III.
Aluko, who is based in Nigeria and Switzerland, is a passionate motor sports enthusiast, who races and competes in conjunction with Swiss-based Ferrari team Kessel Racing. In December 2012, Aluko and his Kessel teammates Thomas Kemenater and Maurizio Mediani came third in the final round of the Endurance Champions Cup held at Rome's Vallelunga circuit in Italy.
In interviews Aluko often cites the racing car driver Ayrton Senna as a main inspiration, drawing parallels between racing, business and life in general. When asked on his advise for young entrepreneurs, Aluko said, “The key is focus, focus and again focus. Identify the things you are good at, your strengths, and get to work on your weaknesses. The racing car driver Ayrton Senna, a man who inspired me greatly, is a good example. Senna was an exceptional driver, however, initially he was terrible in wet conditions, compared to racing in the dry. But he identified his weakness, and so every time it rained, he jumped into his car, and practiced, practiced, practiced, until he arguably became the best, wet weather driver in history."
Aluko, co businessman Jide Omokore and former Nigeria Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke are currently being investigated for a series of multi-billion dollar fraud and money laundering offences in Nigeria, the United Kingdom and America.