Africa Women Impact Summit & Awards 2023
THE AFRICA WE WANT 3.0
inclusion, leadership Capacity & influence: the role of women in Africa’s economic and Political Future.
HERBERT WIGWE, OUR ESTEEMED AWARD RECIPIENT
Herbert Wigwe is the Group Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings PLC, an ecosystem orchestrator offering financial products and services for the retail, private, corporate, institutional and non-institutional sectors in Africa, Asia and Europe.
Herbert Wigwe ’s journey to becoming one of Africa’s foremost corporate bankers began with an accountancy degree from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He went on to earn an MA in Banking and Finance from the University of North Wales (now Bangor) and an MSc. in Financial Economics from the University of London. Currently studying law at the University of London, Wigwe is also an alumnus of the Harvard Business School Executive Management Program.
Herbert Wigwe ’s professional journey began at Coopers & Lybrand, Lagos, as a management consultant, during which he qualified as a chartered accountant. After a stint at Capital Bank, he joined GTBank where he spent over a decade working in corporate and institutional banking, rising to become the Executive Director in charge of institutional banking. Armed with this experience, Wigwe and his partner bought into Access Bank (at the time ranked 65th largest bank in Nigeria) in 2002.
Wigwe began his leadership tenure at Access Bank as Deputy Managing Director, before assuming the role of Group Managing Director/CEO in 2014, a position he held until 2022. In that eight-year period, Wigwe and his team of leaders steered Access Bank to become Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest retail bank (by customer base) and one of the top 500 financial institution brands in the world (according to a 2022 report by Brand Finance), with operations in 12 countries across the globe, with 60 million customers in Africa, alone.
He is currently the Chairman, The Access Bank UK, which is arguably the strongest African Bank in the United Kingdom.
In addition to serving as Group CEO of the holding company, he is a Board member of Nigeria’s Business Coalition Against AIDS which leads major businesses in Nigeria in fighting the HIV/AIDS pandemic at all levels of intervention within the health system and the private sector workforce. Similarly, he advocates for the eradication of malaria in Africa, and is a partner of the Corporate Alliance on Malaria in Africa to achieve this objective. Wigwe also serves on several other boards, including those of the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company and Friends Africa. He is an honorary member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and the Institute of Credit Administration.
Forover two decades, Wigwe has helped develop some of Africa’s biggest companies in the construction, telecommunications, energy and oil and gas sectors by leveraging a unique model that marries a deep understanding of sustainability with relevant financial support and expertise.
In 2021, Wigwe was recognised as the African Banker of the Year at the African Banker Awards, receiving the award for the second consecutive year. This recognition underscored Wigwe’s relentless pursuit of growth and stellar leadership. In the same year, he was also awarded the ‘Best Banking CEO’ at the Global Brands Magazine Awards and was recognised with the Juris Law Award by the Juris Law Office in collaboration with the National Judicial Institute for his contributions to corporate governance and rule of law in Nigeria’s banking industry.
A passionate advocate for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Wigwe speaks frequently at business forums and conventions, strongly encouraging global business commitment to the achievement of the global goals. In addition, he was the first African sponsor of the United Nations Global Compact initiative – the world’s largest corporate sustainability call to companies globally to align their strategies and operations with universal principles of human rights, the environment, anti-corruption and conduct that encourages the betterment of society. During his tenure as Group Managing Director, Wigwe instilled these goals and strategies firmly throughout Access Bank and its subsidiaries.
Wigwe understands that there is much that needs to be done when it comes to the upliftment of African communities. At the onset of the COVID-19 global crisis, Wigwe acted swiftly to support Nigeria’s private and public healthcare’s efforts to respond effectively by galvanizing assistance for and co-leading the formation of CACOVID (Coalition Against COVID) comprised of the Central Bank of Nigeria; Deposit Money Banks and other financial institutions in Nigeria; and key stakeholders in Nigeria’s private sector. Wigwe, in collaboration with the Steering Committee, led the Coalition to support the Federal Government in reopening the economy by increasing its testing capacity through the procurement and supply of vital and protective medical equipment. CACOVID supported the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, and Port Health Services with IT, communication, infection prevention and control infrastructure, and consumables at major airports. CACOVID established 39 isolation centers across the 36 states of Nigeria including FCT Abuja. CACOVID also intervened in the area of social impact of the COVID 19 lockdown by providing feeding to 10 million families across Nigeria.
He is a patron of the Arts and a vocal advocate for diversity, equity, inclusion and women empowerment. In 2016, he launched his not-for-profit organization – The HOW Foundation, to be a catalyst for positive impact in the areas of education, health and youth empowerment.
Wigwe (on the platform of The HOW Foundation), Access Bank and UNICEF have also collaborated to support vulnerable children, orphans, and internally displaced persons in the northern part of Nigeria. To raise awareness for this purpose, the Bank organizes and hosts the annual high-profile Access Bank/UNICEF Charity Shield Polo Tournament in Kaduna, London and recently, Cape Town.
Looking to make a scaled impact on Nigeria’s educational system, Herbert is currently awaiting approval to launch the Wigwe University. His vision is to build a world-class institution that will offer educational standards using the unique context-based model, Work Integrated Learning Programme (WILP), with an industry-led curriculum, on par with Ivy League schools across the world while creating a unique experience that only Africa can offer. The University will be a gateway to the world of entrepreneurship, technology, innovation and impact.
Heebert Wigwe will be present at AWIS2023, an event celebrating women leaders and African entrepreneurs.
The event takes place from September 8th to 10th, 2023, at the esteemed Oriental Hotel. Don’t miss out—register now to be part of this significant gathering.
For inquiries about sponsorships or exhibitions at AWIS2023, reach out to us at: +2348071160088.
Join us at #AWISA2023 to honor women’s leadership, African entrepreneurship, and the unwavering spirit of women’s empowerment. Let’s together envision a future filled with opportunities and progress.
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