Businesses linked to late Access Bank CEO Herbert Wigwe

Early this month, Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank Herbert Wigwe lost his life alongside his wife and son in a helicopter accident while en route from Palm Springs to Boulder City in Nevada, approximately 96km (60 miles) from Las Vegas. The 57-year-old banker was reportedly heading to Las Vegas to attend the Super Bowl.

Access Bank was founded in 1989 and Wigwe played a pivotal role in its growth, leading it to become one of Nigeria’s largest banks by 2018, following its acquisition of its main competitor, Diamond Bank. Wigwe was planning to expand further, acquiring banks in Kenya, South Africa and Botswana. He was looking at opening a new banking service in Asia in the first quarter of 2024, BBC reported.

Following his death, Access Bank announced that Bolaji Agbede, a senior founding executive director of the bank, will serve as acting CEO.

Prior to his death, Wigwe was connected to the following companies:

Access Holdings

One of his businesses is Access Holdings, the holding company for various subsidiaries, including banking, payments, pensions, and insurance, and asset management. It operates in 12 African countries and Europe. Wigwe held a 9.09 percent stake as the group managing director and CEO, according to Billionaires Africa.

Access Bank Plc

In 2018, Access Bank became Nigeria’s largest lender. The bank serves over 49 million customers across three continents. Wigwe left Guaranty Trust Bank as an Executive Director to co-lead the transformation of Access Bank Plc in March 2002 as Deputy Managing Director. He led it to become one of Nigeria’s largest banks by 2018, following its acquisition of its main competitor, Diamond Bank.

HOW Foundation

One example of Wigwe’s dedication to societal development is the Herbert Onyewumbu Wigwe Foundation (HOW Foundation), which he established in 2016. With an emphasis on health, leadership, and youth empowerment, the foundation has achieved great progress in raising community awareness of prostate cancer and malaria and providing education and assistance, especially during the difficult COVID-19 pandemic period.

Wigwe University

Herbert Wigwe is also the founder of Wigwe University. He announced the university in November 2023, with a groundbreaking investment of $500 million. The vision behind the institution is to revolutionize Nigeria’s educational landscape by helping build skills needed for the finance and technology industries. Wigwe said in an interview last November that Wigwe University will begin admitting students for undergraduate courses this year. Science and engineering, information technology, management and creative arts are some of the courses to be offered by the university.

Abu Mubarik

Abu Mubarik is a journalist with years of experience in digital media. He loves football and tennis.

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