Herbert Wigwe: Daring Achiever with Giant Stride

Wole Olajide

Herbert Wigwe is in the league of men whose fame have a hard time catching up with their remarkable achievements. He is the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank Plc. You may have heard of them. Under his leadership the Bank, has roared into the limelight, with the many brilliant strides and policies executed since he took over at the helm.

He is easily one of the best banking brains and business leaders on the continent – evident in his immense contribution to the African banking industry. Herbert’s story is a remarkable one and his journey up until this point is enough blueprint for anyone looking to achieve success in their path.

Herbert had his university education in Nigeria, at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He graduated with a second class upper degree in Accounting and then proceeded to get an MBA in Banking and Finance from the University College of North Wales and an MSC in Financial Economics from the University of London. He is a man who had a target and recognized the required educational foundation for the path he chose. His focus and persistence in following through on his education has all paid off in his career – as is evident for all to see.

Herbert started out his career at the Coopers and Lybrand Associates, Lagos, as a management consultant. He soon got to be a chartered accountant and subsequently went to work at Guaranty Trust Bank Limited. In his time at the bank, spanning over a decade, Herbert rose through the ranks to become the Executive Director – Corporate and Investment Banking. Herbert’s career lends credence to the point that practice is what you do that makes you good. His work ethic and dedication to his career path is exemplary.

After over a decade at Guaranty Trust Bank, Herbert and his business partner, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede acquired Access Bank, which was a rather small commercial bank at the time (2002). Under their leadership, the bank has seen drastic improvements – from being ranked 65 out of the 89 commercial banks in the country at the time to being among the top 5 financial institutions in the country today.

Everything Herbert had done up until that moment had prepared him uniquely for success. His professionalism, work ethic and brilliance had been evident long before the Access Bank deal. He practiced and practiced, did his due diligence and, when the moment arrived to venture out, he was ready.


Over the past 26 years, Access Bank Plc has evolved from an obscure Nigerian Bank into a world-class African financial institution. Today, we are one of the five largest banks in Nigeria in terms of assets, loans, deposits and branch network; a feat which has been achieved through a robust long-term approach to client solutions – providing committed and innovative advice.

Access Bank has built its strength and success in corporate banking and is now applying that expertise to the personal and business banking platforms it acquired from Nigeria’s International Commercial bank in 2012. The next two years were spent integrating the business, investing in infrastructure and strengthening the product offer.

As part of its continued growth strategy, Access Bank is focused on mainstreaming sustainable business practices into its operations. The Bank strives to deliver sustainable economic growth that is profitable, environmentally responsible, and socially relevant.


Access Bank Plc. is a leading full-service commercial Bank operating through a network of more than 600 branches and service outlets, spanning three continents, 12 countries and 31 million customers. The Bank employs 28,000 people in its operations in Nigeria and has subsidiaries in Sub-Saharan Africa and the United Kingdom (with a branch in Dubai, UAE) and representative offices in China, Lebanon and India.

Listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange since 1998, Access Bank is a diversified financial institution which combines a strong retail customer franchise and digital platform with deep corporate banking expertise and proven risk management and capital management capabilities. The Bank serves its various markets through four business segments: Retail, Business, Commercial and Corporate. The Bank has over 900,000 shareholders (including several Nigerian and International Institutional Investors) and has enjoyed what is arguably Africa’s most successful banking growth trajectory in the last twelve years. Following its merger with Diamond Bank in March 2019, Access Bank became one of Africa’s largest retail banks by retail customer base.

As part of its continued growth strategy, Access Bank is focused on mainstreaming sustainable business practices into its operations. The Bank strives to deliver sustainable economic growth that is profitable, environmentally responsible and socially relevant, helping customers to access more and achieve their dreams.

In honour of its defining roles across the African continent, Access Bank has been accorded recognition by reputable domestic and global organisations. Some of these recognitions include: 2019 World Finance Award “Best Digital Bank in Nigeria”; 2019 World Finance Award “Best Mobile App in Nigeria”; 2019 Karlsruhe Sustainable Finance Awards; “Outstanding Business Sustainability Achievement”; 2018 Euromoney Private Banking Awards “Best Commercial Banking Capabilities”; 2018 Euromoney ‘Africa’s Best Bank for CSR’ Award; 2018 CBN ‘Sustainable Bank of the Year’; ‘Sustainable Transaction of the Year (Oil & Gas)’,  ‘Sustainable Transaction of the Year (Power)’; 2018 Global Banking and Finance Review, “Best Investor Relations Bank in Nigeria”; 2018 SERAS ‘Most Sustainable Company in Africa”, 2019 CEO Awards Forum “Gender Leader of the Year” just to mention a few.



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