Who Is Herbert Wigwe?


Herbert Onyewumbu Wigwe, who tragically passed away in February 2024, leaves behind a remarkable legacy in the Nigerian banking sector. As the former Group Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings Plc and the architect of Access Bank’s growth, he played a pivotal role in shaping the financial landscape of the nation.

From Management Consultant to Banking Leader

Wigwe’s career began at Coopers & Lybrand, a management consulting firm, before transitioning to the banking industry with Guaranty Trust Bank. In 2002, he joined Access Bank as Deputy Managing Director, co-leading its transformation alongside Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede. His leadership and vision were instrumental in propelling the bank from a regional player to a national and, eventually, a continental force.

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Under his leadership, Access Bank witnessed significant growth. Between 2002 and 2017, it became the 4th largest bank in Nigeria. He became CEO in 2014 and oversaw the landmark merger with Diamond Bank in 2019, solidifying Access Bank’s position as the nation’s leading financial institution.

Beyond Domestic Success

Wigwe didn’t limit his ambitions to the domestic market. He actively pursued regional expansion, establishing a presence in several African countries. He also had plans to enter the Asian market before his untimely passing.

He was not just a successful businessman; he was also a respected figure in the Nigerian community. He held prestigious awards, including the Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR), and was recognized for his contributions to the financial sector and his philanthropic endeavours.

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Herbert Wigwe’s legacy extends far beyond the financial world. He inspired countless young Nigerians to pursue their dreams and demonstrated the power of vision, hard work, and dedication in achieving success. His story serves as a testament to the potential for individuals to shape the future of their nation. While his life was tragically cut short, his contributions to the Nigerian banking sector and his inspiring story will continue to be remembered for years to come.


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