Dr Stella Okoli: Founder and CEO of the Renowned Emzor Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Company

by Duchess Magazine

Stella Chinyelu Okoli (MON, OON) was born in 1944 in Kano State, Northern Nigeria, to Felix Ebelechukwu and Margaret Modebelu, both of whom were descended from the Nnewi clan in Anambra State. She is a philanthropist, businesswoman, and chemist from Nigeria. Emzor Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Company, established in 1977, is led by the founder and current CEO of the company.

Stella Okoli had held positions at Middlesex Hospital in London, Boots the Chemists Limited, and Pharma-Deko before founding Emzor Pharmaceutical.

Emzor Pharmaceutical was founded by Stella Okoli in January 1977 as a small pharmaceutical retail store in Somolu, Lagos State, under the initial name “Emzor Chemists Ltd.”

With more than 50 products since its foundation in 1984, Emzor Pharmaceutical has grown to become one of the top pharmaceutical firms in Nigeria.

Stella Okoli is currently a member of the Economic Summit of Nigeria and the Nigerian Health Matters Advisory Board. She previously served as Chairman of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group and the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria for the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture.

Stella established the Chike Okoli Foundation as a non-profit organisation in 2006 following the passing of her son Chike Okoli in 2005 with the goal of eradicating poverty and diseases through promoting cardiovascular health. She also oversees the Chike Okoli Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies.

She began her formal education in 1954 when she enrolled as a student at All Saint Primary School in Onitsha. She then went on to finish her secondary education in 1964 at Ogidi Girls Secondary School in Ogidi.

Stella received her degree in pharmacy from the University of Bradford in 1969. She graduated from the University of London’s Chelsea College in 1971 and has an M.Sc. in Biopharmaceutical.


International Entrepreneurial Challenge (IWEC) Award

CePATHonors Lifetime Achievement Award 2014

Ernst and Young Lifetime Achievement Award 2016

Institute of Directors Lifetime Achievement Award 2016

Stella received the Member of the Order of the Niger honour for her accomplishments and services to Nigeria’s healthcare system. She received recognition in 2012 during the 17th ThisDay Annual Awards ceremony. She also received the ECOWAS International Gold Award. She also graduated from the Lagos Business School, the Harvard Management School in Boston, and the I.E.S.E. Business School in Barcelona, Spain.

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