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Women Take the Lead as Nigerian Banks Reach Historic High in Female Leadership

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Women Take the Lead as Nigerian Banks Reach Historic High in Female Leadership

The number of women leading major banks in Nigeria has increased in recent years.

Adaora Umeoji who will now serve as the new group managing director/CEO of Zenith Bank in June 1, 2024, joins other seven female CEOs of major commercial banks in Nigeria.

Umeoji whose appointment was announced on Tuesday will succeed Ebenezer Onyeagwu, the current GMD/CEO whose 5-year tenure will elapse on May 31.

Before the announcement, two other females such as Yetunde Oni was appointed as the managing director/CEO of Union Bank of Nigeria in January. And last month, Bolaji Agbede was appointed as acting group CEO of Access Holdings after the death of Herbert Wigwe.

A report by Agusto Consulting, a subsidiary of Agusto & Co, a pan-African credit rating agency said the share of women on boards surged to an all-time high in 2022.

It showed that the share of female board members has risen steadily in the past five years, hitting 25 percent from 18 percent in 2018. That compares with 36 percent in South Africa, 41 percent in the United Kingdom and 35 percent in the United States.

Here are profiles of the female MDs/CEOs of eleven major banks

Adaora Umeoji

Umeoji holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Jos, a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and a First-Class honors in Law from Baze University, Abuja.

She also has a Master of Laws from the University of Salford, United Kingdom, a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Calabar, and has a doctorate in business administration from Apollos University, USA.

She holds a Certificate in Economics for Business from the prestigious MIT Sloan School of Management, USA, and has attended various management programmes in renowned Universities around the world including the strategic thinking and Management programme at Wharton Business School, USA.

Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe – Fidelity Bank

Onyeali-Ikpe holds Bachelor of Laws and Master of Laws degrees from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and Kings College, London.

She attended executive training programs at Harvard Business School, The Wharton School University of Pennsylvania, INSEAD School of Business, Chicago Booth School of Business, London Business School and IMD amongst others.

Onyeali-Ikpe assumed office as managing director/CEO of Fidelity Bank on January 1, 2021. She was formerly the executive director, Lagos and South West, overseeing the bank’s business in the six states that make up the South West region of the bank.

She is also an honorary senior member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria.

Tomi Somefun – Unity Bank

Somefun graduated with a Second Class Upper degree from the Obafemi Awolowo University (formerly University of Ife) in 1981 with a Bachelor of Education in English Language. She was conferred an honorary degree of Doctor of Business Administration by the Redeemer’s University.

Before she was appointed the managing director/CEO of Unity Bank in August 2015, she served as the executive director overseeing the Lagos and South-West Business directorates, the financial institution division and the treasury department of the bank.

She is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, she is also a member of the Institute of Directors, Bank Directors Association of Nigeria and Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria.

Miriam Olusanya – Guaranty Trust Bank Limited

Olusanya holds a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria and a Master of Business Administration (Finance and Accounting) from the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom.

Before she became the bank’s MD, she was appointed executive director in 2018 and served as the group treasurer and head of the wholesale banking division, responsible for the bank’s asset and liability management as well as financial markets dealings across all African subsidiaries.

She is also a non-executive director of the Nigerian Inter-bank Settlement System and the Shared Agent Network Expansion Facilities, an agent banking initiative of the CBN, supported by Nigerian banks.

She is a member of the Financial Markets Sub-Committee of the Bankers’ Committee, the primary interactive policy platform made up of the Central Bank of Nigeria and banks.

Ireti Samuel-Ogbu – Citi Bank

Samuel-Ogbu, CEO and country officer for Nigeria and Ghana for Citi Bank, obtained a BA Hons Accounting and Finance from Middlesex University, UK and has an MBA from the University of Bradford, UK.

Before she was appointed CEO, she was the managing director of Europe, Middle East and Africa payments and receivables head, treasury and trade solutions under Citi’s Institutional Clients Group based in London, UK.

Samuel-Ogbu co-founded two impactful mentorship initiatives within Citi – the Sapphire Leadership Program for Middle East and Africa, and the Momentum Program in the UK.

Yemisi Edun – FCMB

Edun holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Ife and a master’s degree in International Accounting and Finance from the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom.Related News

She is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and a chartered financial analyst.

She is also an associate member of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers and an Associate Member of the Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, a member of Information Systems Audit and Control, U.S.A. and a Certified Information Systems Auditor.

She began her career with Akintola Williams Deloitte (member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu) in 1987 with a focus on corporate finance activities as well as audits of banks and other financial institutions.

She joined FCMB in 2000 as divisional head of Internal Audit and Control before assuming the role of chief financial officer of the bank.

She was appointed managing director of the bank following CBN approval on May 1, 2021.

Bolaji Agbede – Access Holdings

Before her appointment as acting group CEO, Agbede was the company’s most senior founding executive director in charge of business support.

Beginning in 1992 at Guaranty Trust Bank, she rose through managerial positions, where she held various roles such as relationship manager and vault custodian.

She advanced from an executive trainee in 1992 to a manager by 2001.

In 2003, she assumed the position of chief executive officer at JKG Limited, a business consulting firm.

Transitioning to Access Bank in the same year as an assistant general manager, she took charge of managing the bank’s portfolio of chemical trading companies.

Since 2010, she has been the head of Human Resources for the Access Bank Group, overseeing the group’s human capital development efforts.

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics and Statistics from the University of Lagos (1990) and a Master of Business Administration Degree from Cranfield University UK in 2002, and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Management UK and the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria.

Yetunde Oni, managing director/CEO of Union Bank of Nigeria

Oni, a seasoned professional with over 25 years in the banking sector, is known for her dynamic leadership and expertise in client solutions and team management.

Her academic credentials include an Economics degree from the University of Ibadan and an MBA from Bangor University, complemented by executive training at Oxford University.

Oni’s career began at Prime Merchant Bank Treasury & Money Markets Group, followed by an 11-year stint at Ecobank Nigeria as a Relationship Manager. She joined Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria in 2005, where she held various key positions, culminating in her role as the Managing Director & Country Head of Commercial Banking in West Africa.

Before joining Union Bank, Oni was the first female Managing Director and CEO at Standard Chartered Bank in Sierra Leone.

Bukola Smith of FSDH Merchant Bank

Smith holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from University of Lagos, and also holds an MBA from Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, United Kingdom.

She started her banking career with FSB International Bank (now part of Fidelity Bank) and her experience cuts across customer service, funds transfer, international trade, institutional banking, private banking, treasury, investment & financial markets, project and structured finance, audit and sales.

She rose to the position of divisional head, treasury and institutional banking in Fidelity Bank Ltd before joining First City Monument Bank Limited (FCMB) in the year 2006 where she has occupied several positions as the group head, Treasury and Financial Institutions, divisional head, Investment Banking and Financial Markets, director project and Structured Finance, and divisional head, group Internal Audit.

Halima Buba of Suntrust Bank

Buba holds a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree in Business Management from the University of Maiduguri and an MBA from the same University.

She is an alumnus of the Lagos Business school Senior Management Programme. She is an Honorary Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers and a Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants and Honorary Senior Member of Institute of Directors of Nigeria (IoD).

She is a seasoned banker with over 22 years cognate experience obtained from working in Allstates Trust Bank, Zenith Bank, Inland Bank Plc, Oceanic Bank Plc and Ecobank Nigeria Limited

Prior to her appointment to Sun Trust Bank Ltd as MD/CEO, Buba is a co-founder and former executive director in Taj Consortium, an organisation of young dynamic technocrats and financial advisory experts.

She sits on the board of several reputable Institutions, including those of Anchoria Asset Management Company Limited as non-executive director, and also as the chairman, board of directors – NSIA Umuahia Diagnosis Centre (NUDC).

Kafilat Araoye of Lotus Bank

Araoye holds a first degree in History from the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University (1985), and an M.Sc. in Industrial Relations & Personnel Management from the University of Lagos (1987), graduating as the best student in her class.

She holds Islamic Finance certifications issued by Ethica Institute of Islamic Finance, the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment/Bahrain Institute of Banking & Finance, as well as the Islamic Research & Training Institute.

She started her career in 1988 at National Oil and Chemicals Marketing Company Plc (now Conoil Nigeria Plc), and moved in 1990 to Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, as the pioneer head of Human Resources.

Source: Businessday

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