Accepted paper:

Training Nigerian Managers for a Swiss Trading Company 1972-1995

Author:

Marcel Brengard (University of Zurich)

Paper short abstract:

Looking at the Swiss trading and retailer company UTC, this paper aims to examine the effects of the Nigerian indigenization measures on a private foreign company in regard to management training practices.

Paper long abstract:

When the Swiss Union Trading Company (UTC) expanded into the Nigerian market in 1931, nobody thought about training Nigerians as managers. Instead, all management positions within the company were filled with Swiss citizens. For almost half a century this was to remain the case. New staff was regularly recruited in Switzerland in order to replace outgoing managers and training instructors in Nigeria. Meanwhile, the Nigerians were employed as clerks, drivers, in some cases as shop-keepers in the wide sales network of the company, but usually as simple blue-collar workers. This began to change in the 1970s, when Nigeria launched the "Nigerianization" program. The program required that a substantial part of its shareholding be transferred to Nigerian citizens. In addition, the management had to be "Nigerianized" as well, which means a substantial part of it should consist of locally recruited and trained managers. The company moved into recruiting Nigerian graduates and, in cooperation with ORT (Organization for Educational Resources and Technological Training), created a training program for future Nigerian managers. It took almost 20 years for the first Nigerian to take over the top executive chair in the company. However, he left the company after the last shares of the Swiss parent company were sold to Nigerian shareholders in 1997.

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