Mo Abudu, CEO of EbonyLife TV has been listed on Business Insider‘s Top 100 business visionaries creating value for the world. She is the only African on the list with a ranking of 56 on a list of 100 people from all over the world. As the head of one of Africa’s most successful new media ventures, the Nigeria-based television network EbonyLife TV, endeavors to tell real African stories and change the conversation around the continent.
"It’s a great day. So grateful to be selected as one of the Top 100 innovative leaders. The only African on the list too. Thank you Business Insider. I’m blessed."
The Business Insider's Top 100 list has “companies large and small, embodying a commitment to a bigger picture of leadership and innovation. These companies transcend the boundaries of capitalism and generate creative worth that challenges the idea of traditional business success”. Mo Abudu was listed ahead of global business titans and chief executive officers (CEOs) of Snapchat, Linkedin, Spanx, Spotify, Tory Burch, Fitbit, Zara, and Uber, to mention a few. Ahead of her are the CEO’s of Alibaba, Bloomberg, IKEA, Virgin Group, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Toms, Google, Starbucks and Facebook. She happens to be the only African business leader, and African woman to make the list.
The ranking, according to the globally respected business magazine, was initiated in celebration of ingenious men and women exploiting capitalism as a force for good. The honour for Mo Abudu comes as EbonyLife TV moves into its third year with the expansion of its operations to more Nigerian cities, including Abuja, Lagos and Calabar. The channel now distributes to 49 African countries, including South African and Southern African countries.
Speaking about her recognition on the list, she said: "It’s a great day. So grateful to be selected as one of the Top 100 innovative leaders. The only African on the list too. Thank you Business Insider. I’m blessed."
Some of the other companies and individuals that made the list include, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Howard Schultz of Starbucks, Bill and Melinda Gates of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Sergey Brin and Larry Page of Google, Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX, Paul Polman of Unilever, Reed Hastings of Netflix, Richard Branson of Virgin Group, Jack Ma of Alibaba, Luis Von Ahn and Severin Hacker of Duolingo, Satya Nadella of Microsoft, Ellen DeGeneres of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and Ellen Digital Network to mention a few.
Growing up in the UK raised by Nigerian parents, Abudu was subjected to slews of ignorant, not to mention mind-boggling comments and questions about African life and culture, whichtriggered a desire to dispel the world’s inaccurate perceptions. She says: “Somewhere deeply buried in my subconscious was a need to tell Africa's story. My burning desire is just to tell everybody: Listen, we're not a bunch of savages. We really are gifted."
Abudu took an unorthodox route to entertainment. She returned to Nigeria in the early 1990s, working in the corporate world until in 2000 she launched her own HR consulting firm and, several years later, a hotel in Lagos as well. In 2006, she decided to ditch the corporate world and break into TV. She started “Moments with Mo,” which became the first daily talk show syndicated across the continent, landing high-profile guests like Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, and Hillary Clinton, then the US Secretary of State. In 2013, Abudu launched EbonyLife, where she produces a wide array of TV shows, from her own talk show to an African version of “Desperate Housewives,” which she landed in a deal with Disney. She has also inked content distribution deals with CBS and Netflix. The network now provides premium content to 49 countries across Africa, as well as the UK and the Caribbean.