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Access Holdings: Death of Herbert Wigwe, wife and son ‘a monumental loss’

Late Dr. Herbert Wigwe, CEO of Access Holdings Plc

*Abubakar Jimoh, Chairman of Access Holdings, asserts the Access Family has suffered a major loss with the passing of Dr. Herbert Wigwe, who had ‘a prodigious intellect, admirable personal qualities, and vast business experience, which he brought to bear on the Access Family and for which we owe him a debt of gratitude’

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

The Board of Directors of Access Holdings Plc, in Nigeria, has announced the passing of Dr. Herbert Wigwe, CFR, the Company’s founding Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO), and former Group Managing Director (GMD) of its flagship subsidiary, Access Bank Plc.

ConsumerConnect reports

Dr. Wigwe was reported dead alongside his wife and son Friday, February 9, 2024, in a helicopter accident in California, United States (US).

The company, in a statement said the entire Access Family mourns the loss of Herbert, Doreen and Chizi.

It also stated: “We extend our deep and sincere sympathies to his family and loved ones.”

Dr. Wigwe was a key driving force and a larger-than-life personality who brought his remarkable passion, energy, and experience to the transformation of the Access franchise since joining the Bank 2002.

On the passage of Dr. Wigwe, Mr. Abubakar Jimoh, Chairman of Access Holdings, remarked: “The Access Family has suffered a major loss with the passing of Dr. Wigwe, who was a great friend and fine gentleman.

“He had a prodigious intellect, admirable personal qualities, and vast business experience, which he brought to bear on the Access Family and for which we owe him a debt of gratitude.

“We remain confident that the Access Group will build further on Dr. Wigwe’s legacy of growth and operational excellence.”

According to the group, late Wigwe was instrumental in the growth of Access Bank, which he co-founded with his friend and business partner Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede. He took over as Access Bank Group CEO 2014, focusing on the Bank’s expansion in Nigeria and Africa before taking the helm at Access Holdings in 2022.

Under his leadership, Access Bank drove its African strategy to become Sub Saharan Africa’s largest retail bank by customer base, stated Access Holding Plc.

The company further noted Wigwe was a member of the Access Bank UK Board as well as the Board of the Nigerian Business Coalition Against AIDS (NiBUCAA).

He had long been an advocate for the eradication of malaria in Africa, working with the Corporate Alliance on Malaria to support this objective on the continent.

He equally sat on the Board of the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company and Friends Africa, and was an honorary member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) and Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and Institute of Credit Administration.

A two-time winner of the African Banker of the Year award from the African Banker Awards, Dr. Wigwe was a passionate advocate of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which forms the bedrock of Access Holdings’ growth strategy.

His academic credentials include a degree in Accounting from the University of Nigeria (UNN), an MA in Banking and Finance from the University College of North Wales (now Bangor University), and an MSc in Financial Economics from the University of London. He also completed the Harvard Business School Executive Management Program.

Dr. Wigwe recently founded Wigwe University, Africa’s first ivy league institution dedicated to providing a world-class education and raising the next generation of fearless leaders.

Meanwhile, several other notable Nigerians, including Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweaka, Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), former Vice-President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Mr. Peter Obi, Nigerian Governors, Mr. Tony Ulemelu and Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, among several others have all mourned and expressed sadness at the incident.

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