In Memoriam: Herbert Wigwe, A Visionary Leader


The Nigerian banking industry and the global business community are mourning the loss of a visionary leader, Herbert Wigwe, the Chief Executive of Nigeria’s Access Holdings, parent company of Access Bank, one of Africa’s largest banking groups. Herbert Wigwe tragically lost his life in a helicopter crash in California on Friday night, along with his wife, son, and other prominent individuals.

Herbert Wigwe was more than just a CEO; he was a driving force behind Access Bank’s transformation into a global powerhouse. Under his leadership, Access Bank became one of Nigeria’s top five banking institutions, a testament to his passion and unwavering commitment to excellence.

Wigwe’s career in the banking industry began at Coopers & Lybrand, where he worked as a management consultant. He later joined Guaranty Trust Bank, where he rose to become an executive director. In 2002, Wigwe, along with his business partner Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, acquired Access Bank, a move that was initially met with skepticism but ultimately proved to be a pivotal moment in the bank’s history.

From 2002 to 2017, Access Bank experienced remarkable growth, becoming the 4th largest bank in Nigeria. Wigwe played a key role in this growth, serving as the company’s Deputy Managing Director and later as the Chairman of Access Bank Ghana Limited. In January 2014, he assumed the role of CEO and Group Managing Director, further solidifying his reputation as a visionary leader.

Wigwe’s legacy extends beyond the banking industry. He was also known for his philanthropic efforts, including the establishment of the Access Bank Loan Programme, which aimed to provide financial assistance to individuals and businesses in need.

Herbert Wigwe’s sudden and tragic passing has left a void in the business community, but his legacy will endure. He will be remembered not only for his business acumen but also for his kindness, generosity, and unwavering dedication to making a positive impact on the world.

As we mourn the loss of Herbert Wigwe, we also celebrate his life and legacy. His vision and leadership have left an indelible mark on the banking industry and serve as an inspiration to us all. Herbert Wigwe may be gone, but his legacy will live on in the hearts and minds of those who knew him.

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