Herbert Wigwe was a Nigerian businessman and banker. His role at Access Bank Plc, one of Nigeria’s five largest banks, followed his business partner Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede’s retirement.
Age- 57 years
Height- 6 feet 2 inches
Born- 15 August 1966
Birthplace- Isiokpo, Nigeria
Death date- 9 February 2024
Spouse- Chizoba Wigwe (m. ?–2024)
Profession-Business, CEO of Access Bank
Cause of Death
On February 9, 2024, Wigwe and five others lost their lives in a tragic helicopter crash near Nipton, California. Among the deceased were his wife, his son Chizi, former Chairman of Nigerian Exchange Group Plc Abimbola Ogunbanjo, and two crew members. They were on route from Palm Springs Airport to Boulder City, Nevada, aboard a charter flight operated by Orbic Air, destined for the Super Bowl LVIII championship in Las Vegas.
Information regarding his parents is unavailable. However, it is known that his father held a position as the head of the Nigerian Television Authority, while his mother pursued a career as a nurse.
Wigwe was married to Chizoba Wigwe, and they had four children together.
In 1990, he was awarded the British Council scholarship to pursue studies at the University College of North Wales, where he obtained a Master of Arts in banking and finance in 1991. Subsequently, he completed an M.Sc. in financial economics at the University of London in 1996. He also participated in the executive management program at Harvard Business School. In recognition of his achievements, he was granted an honorary doctorate by the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, in 2018.
Wigwe commenced his professional journey at Coopers & Lybrand as a management consultant in the late 1980s, achieving the status of a chartered accountant by 1989. He subsequently joined Guaranty Trust Bank, where he dedicated over a decade of service, ultimately rising to the position of executive director around 1998.
In 2002, Wigwe, alongside his business partner Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, acquired Access Bank. However, their acquisition faced delays due to concerns from the Central Bank of Nigeria regarding their age and eligibility to own a bank. Over the span of 2002 to 2017, Access Bank evolved into the fourth-largest bank in Nigeria.During the period from 2002 to 2014, he held the role of deputy managing director at Access Bank. Additionally, Wigwe assumed the chairmanship of Access Bank Ghana Limited starting in 2013.
From January 2014 until his passing, he served as the CEO and group managing director of Access Bank. In 2018, he established the Access Bank Loan Programme, a component of the financial syndicate managed by the Edwin Symonowicz Foundation.The same year witnessed the merger of Access Bank with Diamond Bank, propelling it to become Nigeria’s largest bank.Although he had ambitions to extend the bank’s operations into Asia in early 2024, his demise occurred before any official expansion initiatives took place.
Wigwe played a pivotal role in the inception of the Access Conference, a leadership series aimed at addressing global challenges. Since its debut in 2013, the Access Conference has consistently engaged global leaders in discussions concerning pressing issues. In the 2013 edition, themed “Sustainable Leadership,” Wigwe shared the platform with notable figures such as George W. Bush, Nicolas Sarkozy, and John Kufuor, emphasizing the significance of leadership in both national and corporate realms.
The 2015 edition, hosted by Wigwe, featured prominent leaders like Steve Wozniak, N. R. Narayana Murthy, José María Figueres, and Muhammad Yunus, exploring the theme “Leading in a Transformational World – The Imperative of Innovation”.
At the time of his death, Herbert Wigwe’s estimated net worth stood at $65.2 million.