Mr. Azubuike Ishiekwene has been appointed the first managing director of LEADERSHIP Newspapers in the ongoing restructuring and repositioning of the newspaper group.
Also appointed in the restructuring is Mr. Abraham Nda-Isaiah who is now managing director of LEADERSHIP Holdings. Both appointments took effect from January 1, 2011.
Ishiekwene was the executive director, publications, Punch Nigeria until he resigned on April 15, 2010. He holds a masters degree in Public Administration and International Affairs and a B.Sc in Mass Communications from the University of Lagos.
Ishiekwene, (or Azu as he is fondly called), is a member of the Board of the World Policy Journal; and the World Editor's Forum. He was also the chair of the CNN African Journalist of the Year panel.
Azu first worked with Punch in 1986 as an intern and returned as a staff reporter in August 1989. It was at the Punch that he cut his professional teeth and made his mark until he left in 2010.
He was investigative reporter, features writer, senior features writer, deputy features editor, features editor, and deputy editor of Toplife magazine (a Punch publication). He was also a member of the Punch editorial board, and Editor of Saturday Punch between 1996 and 2001.
Under his watch, Saturday Punch moved from a circulation of less than 12,000 copies to 110,000 copies.
He was editor of the company's flagship paper and daily title, The Punch, between 2002 and 2006. He was briefly controller publications, before he was appointed executive director, publications, with direct oversight functions for the company's three titles - Sunday Punch, Saturday Punch and The Punch. The production department, including the pre-press; the mega colour printing press and circulation departments were also under his charge.
He has won many awards including the Babatunde Jose Prize for journalism 1988, the Dame Award for Informed Commentary 1993, 2001, 2004 and again in 2006; and Editor of the year, NMMA 2006. Punch also won the newspaper of the year award during his tenure.
Azu, 45, has taught journalism at the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, and lectures part-time at the department of mass communication, University of Lagos. He has also been a guest lecturer at the Centre for Media Enterprises of the Lagos Business School.
Azu wrote one of the most prolific columns on Tuesdays and later wrote for Thisday newspapers on Thursdays.
He is a columnist with the City Press of South Africa, has written for the Mail & Guardian of South Africa and occasionally writes for The Nation of Kenya and Chronicle of Ghana.
He was executive consultant with LEADERSHIP Newspapers Group between November and December 2010, before he was appointed the newspaper's managing director.
Azu is a motivational speaker and has delivered a number of public lectures.
He is the author of a book on the anti-corruption war, titled, "The Trial of Nuhu Ribadu."
Abraham is a pioneer staff of the company. He has served variously as resources manager, assistant general manager and general manager, a position from which he was appointed group executive director of the newspaper.
In all these positions, he initiated and supervised far-reaching reforms which helped, immeasurably, to place the company in its enviable place among similar ones in the country today.
He was educated at Rimi College, Kaduna; School of Basic Studies, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and the University of Jos, Makurdi Campus, Benue State, where he obtained a Bachelors Degree in Mechanical Engineering. He has also attended several executive management programmes at the Kaduna Business School.
Before joining LEADERSHIP, he was the branch coordinator of the Institute of Directors (IoD) Kaduna branch. He is a member of the Advisory Board of Lofty Height Schools, Keffi in Nasarawa State and member Certified Institute of Treasury and Financial Management. He has also served on the panel of external judges of FRCN Excellence Award Scheme.
In his new assignment, Abraham will superintend the aggressive expansion of the company and all other subsidiaries outside the newspaper's platform.