Herbert Wigwe is the Group Managing Director (GMD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of one of Africa’s leading banks; Access Bank. He is not only an entrepreneur and a businessman, but also a philanthropist. Wigwe has transformed Access bank into one of Nigeria’s top five banking institutions because of his dedication, commitment, discipline, and expertise.
Herbert Wigwe Background
Herbert Wigwe was born in 1966 at Ibadan, Oyo state, to Pastor Shingle Wigwe; a retired Director-General of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and Mrs Wigwe; a nurse.
He first went to Federal Government College (FGC) Sokoto, Nigeria, before moving to Federal Government College (FGC) Warri for his secondary education. While at FGC Warri, Herbert was known as a brilliant student and avid cricket player, that even after he graduated in 1982, he is still remembered in the school for his cricketing skills.
Herbert Wigwe failed the first Jamb he wrote after his SSCE. So, in 1983, he wrote JAMB again, this time he was successful. He got admitted into the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) to study Accounting. In 1987, Herbert Wigwe graduated from UNN with a second class upper degree. Afterwards, he went for his NYSC program in 1988.
Herbert Wigwe is happily married to Chizoba Wigwe, and the marriage is blessed with four children.
Herbert Wigwe Early Career
After his service year, Herbert got a job in Lagos with Coopers and Lybrand Associates Limited as a graduate assistant. While working at Coopers and Lybrand, Wigwe was also a student of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), and in 1989, he became a Chartered Accountant. As a chartered accountant, he resigned from Coopers and Lybrand then resumed work at Capital Merchant Bank as a credit analyst.
In 1990, he won the British Council Scholarship to do his masters at North Wales University (now Bangor University). In 1991, he got his masters in Banking and Finance.
After his masters, he came back to Lagos to work with Guaranty Trust Bank – a fast-growing new generation bank. Gradually, he grew through the ranks and became the Executive Director of the Bank at 32 years old.
Owing to his hunger for more knowledge in the financial sector, he went for a second master’s degree in Financial Economics from the University of London. Herbert Wigwe is also an alumnus of the prestigious Harvard Business School Executive Management Program.
In 2002, Herbert and his close friend, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede were presented with a business deal of acquiring a small-scale commercial bank – Access Bank.
Access Bank at the time was ranked as the 65th largest bank out of the 89 banks in Nigeria. Notwithstanding, Herbert and his friend Aigboje were ready to risk their blossoming career to revive the bank.
They transformed the bank into one of the most successful commercial banks in the world and one of the top five banks in Nigeria. In 2015, The Banker’s magazine named Access Bank as one of the top 500 banks in the world. Access Bank aims to be the best in Africa.
Access Bank currently serves over 6.5 million account-holders, through 350 branches, with more than 1,500 ATMs in major centres across Nigeria, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the UK.
Herbert Wigwe has helped to develop some of Africa’s biggest companies in the construction, telecommunications, energy, oil and gas sectors through Access Bank. He developed a unique model that involves the understanding and provision of financial support and expertise to growing companies. Herbert has been working in the financial sector for over 25 years.
Boards Wigwe has served
- Chairman of Access Bank Ghana Limited.
- Access Investment & Securities Limited.
- Central Securities and Clearing System (CSCS).
- Current Chairman of Access Bank (UK) Limited.
- Interim Chairman of the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company.
- Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN – FCA).
- Fellow of the Institute of Credit Administration.
- Honorary Member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria
Committees Where He Serve
- Board Governance and Nomination Committee – Member
- Member of the Board for Credit and Finance Committee
- Board Risk Management Committee – Member
The Access Conference
Herbert’s commitment to social advancement birthed the ‘Thought-Leadership Series’ known as The Access Conference in 2013. The biennial event is Access Bank’s way of responding to the global call for corporate involvement in tackling the major challenges of humanity.
The Access Conference has continuously engaged global leaders with provoking debates on issues of threats and opportunities to the world.
Herbert Wigwe as a Philanthropist
The HOW Foundation
The HOW Foundation is a Non-Profit Organisation established by Dr Wigwe to change and shape lives. The foundation has three areas of focus: health, education and empowerment.
Herbert continuously designs programs and activities that ensure positive and measurable impacts are made in the foundation’s areas of focus.
Herbert Wigwe established the W-Initiative under Access Bank. The initiative is a scheme that supports and encourage more women to venture into business. Through the W-Initiative, women can connect, share ideas, receive loans, and training that aid their business growth.
Maternal Health Scheme
The W-Initiative also supports a Maternal Health Scheme that provides support to women with fertility issues. The Scheme supports women through – In Vitro fertilization (IVF), Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), Endometriosis, Hysterectomy, and many others.
The NollyFund is a brainchild of Access Bank and the Bank of Industry (BOI). It is a loan scheme to help Nollywood stakeholders with the production and distribution of films.
NollyFund has an initial program limit of N1 billion and a single limit of N50 million for individual loans. Some beneficiaries of the fund include the veteran filmmaker, Kunle Afolayan; who got a loan for his movie, the CEO.
Access Bank/UNICEF Charity Shield Polo Tournament
Through Access Bank, Wigwe collaborated with UNICEF to support vulnerable children, orphans and displaced persons in the northern part of Nigeria. They organise a polo tournament once every year to raise awareness for this purpose.
Nigerian Business Coalition Against AIDS (NiBUCCA)
Nigerian Business Coalition against AIDS is a private sector initiative that help eradicate HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, and also support people living with the condition. Herbert was made the co-chair of NiBUCCA in February 2017.
Herbert Wigwe Quotes
“Be empathetic, considerate, kind, and respectful. People may forget what you gave to them but they won’t lose the memory of how you made them feel.”
“The world is changing and Nigeria is beginning to pay attention to young creative people. No matter the outcome, I urge you to keep telling your stories. Don’t be scared to make your mark in the creative space. The future is beautiful.”
“If you want to fly, you have to give up the negativity that weighs you down. Give wings to the greatness within you. Soar!”
“Increasingly, you’ll find that any task that is repetitive will be replaced by technology. We must, therefore, retrain and reskill our people and ourselves to fit into the new world.”
“Success is a meaningless word without failure. I have failed many times, but in every wrong turn, every misstep, there are important lessons. Embrace them.”
“When I look at the faces of children, I see endless possibilities. All they need is a little help, a little hope, a little love, and someone who believes in them. God bless the child.”
“If you think the grass is greener on the other side, remember one thing: The grass is greener where you water it.”
Business Lessons From Herbert Wigwe
Don’t ever let one failure deter you from achieving your dreams, if you fail, try again and keep trying till you get it right.
Understand that taking risk is part of life, and in risk-taking, you either win or you lose. But then, stay optimistic and believe it would work out for good.
Awards And Recognitions Of Herbert Wigwe And Access Bank
- The Boys’ Brigade (BB) inaugurated Herbert Wigwe, as State Patron for Lagos State Council – 2016.
- Bank of the Year at the BusinessDay Banking Awards in Lagos – 2016.
- CEO of the Year at the BusinessDay Banking Awards in Lagos – 2016.
- Karlsruhe Outstanding Business Sustainability Achievement Award at the annual Africa Banking Awards – 2016.
- Banker of The Year by The Sun – 2016.
- Vanguard newspapers named Herbert Wigwe the Banker of the Year – 2016.
- Karlsruhe Outstanding Business Sustainability Achievement Award at the annual Africa Banking Awards – 2017.
- Named Most Reputable Bank CEO by the reputation poll – 2017.
- Business Leader of the Year by the reputation poll – 2017.
- Euromoney Award for Best Private Bank for commercial banking capabilities in Nigeria – 2018.
- Honorary Degree for good works towards humanity by Gombe State University – 2018.
- Honorary Doctorate from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka – 2018.
- Outstanding Individual Award for the HIV/AIDS response in Lagos State by the Lagos State Aids Control Agency (LSACA) – 2019.
- Karlsruhe Outstanding Business Sustainability Achievement Award at the annual Africa Banking Awards – 2019.
Herbert Wigwe Net Worth
As the CEO of Africa’s leading commercial bank and a member of several boards, Herbert has a high net worth. Though his net worth has not been stated officially, Legit.ng says Herbert Wigwe earns 85.2 million Naira annually.
Image Credit: @HerbertOWigwe (Twitter)