Sir Samuel Esson Jonah, KBE, OSG, will be the Guest Speaker for Ashesi’s Class of 2022 Commencement Ceremony on June 4th, 2022. He is recognized as one of Ghana’s foremost business leaders, with a career spanning nearly five decades. Sir Sam Jonah was the first Speaker in Ashesi’s Commencement history and returns to Commencement as Ashesi celebrates its 20th anniversary.
Born on the 19th of November 1949, Sir Sam Jonah was educated at Adisadel College in Ghana, Camborne School of Mines in Cornwall, and The Imperial College of Science & Technology, London. His career began in 1969 at the Obuasi gold mine. He was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Ashanti Goldfields Company Limited in 1986 and oversaw its growth from a one-mine operation into a multinational. In 1996, Ashanti, which had listings in London and Ghana, became the first operating African company to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. He became Executive President of AngloGold Ashanti Ltd (the world’s second-largest gold producer) in May 2004 when Ashanti was merged with AngloGold Limited.
Sam Jonah has been decorated with many awards and honors. In 1994 the Camborne School of Mines and the University of Exeter (UK) jointly awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Science degree. In December 2005 Ashesi University, through its affiliate University in Ghana at the time, the University of Cape Coast, awarded Sam the Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree. In 2003 Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Head of the Commonwealth, conferred on him an Honorary Knighthood as Knight Commander of the Civil Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE). In 2006 he was awarded Ghana’s highest national award, the Companion of the Order of the Star.
In December 2004, CNN and Time Magazine ranked him as one of the world’s top 25 most influential business people – setting the global standards for management, ethics, marketing, and innovation. He is the recipient of five Lifetime Achievement awards, the most recent being the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award.
Sam Jonah is the Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast Ghana, a former Member of the Board of Ashesi University in Ghana, a Visiting Professor of Business at The University of Witwatersrand Business School of Johannesburg and a member of its Governing Council as well as Trustee of the Nelson Mandela Legacy Trust (UK). He was a Founding Member The United Nations Secretary General’s Global Compact Advisory Council; a member of The African Regional Advisory Board of the London Business School, served as a member of the Governing Body of the School of Oriental and African Studies and a Trustee of the Camborne School of Mines. In 2003, he was Co-Chairman of the World Economic Forum held in Durban, South Africa; he was on the Advisory Council of the President of the African Development Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). Sam Jonah has also served on the boards of several international public and private companies.
He previously served as Chairman of Equinox Limited(Australian and Canadian listed), Moto Gold Mines(Australian and Canadian listed), and Uramin(London and Canadian listed). He was previously Chairman of the Mauritius-based Bayport Financial Services. He served on the board of Vodafone UK from 2009 to 2019.
Sam has been an Advisor to a number of African Heads of State, including Thabo Mbeki (South Africa), Olusengu Obasanjo (Nigeria), Gnassingbe Eyadema (Togo) and John Agyekum Kuffour (Ghana). In December 2012, he was appointed a founding member of Bank of America’s Global Advisory Council. He has also been elected as a Foreign Member of the United States National Academy of Sciences (Engineering Division) for the recognition of his distinguished contribution to engineering.
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