Felix Omoikhoje Aizobeoje Ohiwerei is a Nigerian businessman and former MD of Nigerian Breweries. Ohiwerei as also served as a board member in a number of companies and institutions including: Unilever Nigeria Plc; Virgin Nigeria Airways, University of Ibadan and Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission Governing Councils and the New Nigerian Bank (NNB) Plc now party of Unity Bank.
Early life and education
Ohiwerei is from Uzebba and was born in Owan Local Government of Edo State. He was educated at St David's School, Avbiosi, Government Secondary School, Owerri and the University of Ibadan. At Ibadan, he studied geography and after completing his studies at the university and before joining the Nigerian Breweries as a management trainee, he undertook a brief career in teaching at Remo Secondary School, Sagamu. As a young graduate then, the major career trajectory was to become a teacher, work for the government or enter the private sector. Ohiwerei neither wanted to work for the government nor was teaching is first choice
Career at NBL
Ohiwerei entered the private workforce in 1962 as a staff of NBL as a manager in training. In the training programme which took six months and was composed largely of menial tasks. From there, he was posted to the sales division and one of his early assignments was a stint at Ajegunle, Lagos. During the mid 1960s, he was posted on a sales assignment to Benin and sent abroad on an attachment programme where he studied product branding and market research. After returning from abroad, he was seconded as the product brand manager for Star, the leading lager beer in the country. As product manager, he was instrumental in tapping into a new market for a more bitter beer with the introduction of Gulder launched in 1970.
Since then he had held the following positions with the firm: chief sales manager; promotions manager, general brands manager, marketing director. In 1984, he worked with UAC Foods and later with UAC international before becoming the deputy chairman of NBL in 1987. Ohiwerei became the chief executive in 1997 and two years later became a non executive chairman. Ohiwerei became the firm's managing director in 1987, in the aftermath of a government clampdown on the importation of malted barley a major raw material used in Nigerian breweries. Ohiwerei's major task in 1987 was to re-engineer the brewery to utilize local raw materials to position the firm as the nation's premier brewery.
Maltina, a product that was inspired by the increasing use of maltex, then a medicinal drug was turned into a number of variants including Amstel Malta introduced in 1994. Ohiwerei also diversified the firm's products into the carbonated drinks market.