Herbert Wigwe

Herbert Onyewumbu Wigwe (born 15 August 1966 in Lagos) to parents of Ikwerre descent from Omueke Isiokpo, is a Nigerian banker and entrepreneur. He is currently CEO and Group managing director of Access Bank plc, one of Nigeria's top five banking institutions, after succeeding his business partner, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede in January 2014.[1]

Herbert Oluwo
Herbert Wigwe

(1966-08-15) 15 August 1966 (age 54)
Imo State, Nigeria
OccupationMD/CEO of Access Bank plc


Wigwe has a degree in accountancy from the University of Nigeria, an MA in Banking and Finance from the University College of North Wales (now Bangor), an MSc in Financial Economics from the University of London,[2] and is an Alumnus of the Harvard Business School Executive Management Program.


Wigwe began his career at Coopers & Lybrand, Lagos as a management consultant, later qualifying as a chartered accountant. After a stint at Capital Bank, he joined GTBank where he spent over a decade working in corporate and institutional banking, rising to become the executive director in charge of institutional banking.

In 2002, Wigwe and his business partner, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, saw a unique opportunity and grabbed it, buying into what was then a small commercial bank, Access Bank – at the time, the 65th largest of the 89 banks in the country.[3]

Access Bank is now one of the top five banks in Nigeria and ranked among the top 500 global banks according to a 2015 report by The Banker magazine and is aiming to be Africa's top bank. It currently serves over 6.5 million account-holders, through 350 branches and with more than 1,500 ATMs in major centres across Nigeria, Sub-Saharan Africa and the UK.[4]

As one of Nigeria's foremost corporate bankers, he has helped develop some of Africa's biggest companies in the construction, telecommunications, energy and oil and gas sectors through a unique model, which involves understanding and providing financial support and expertise. His career in financial services spans more than 25 years including over a decade as Deputy Managing Director.

Wigwe also served as the Chairman of Access Bank Ghana Limited,[5] Access Investment & Securities Limited, Central Securities and Clearing System (CSCS) and is the current Chairman of Access Bank (UK) Limited. He is a board member of Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company and a member of the advisory Board for Friends Africa. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN – FCA), a Fellow of The Institute of Credit Administration, and an Honorary member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria.

Since January 2014, he has been CEO and Group Managing Director of Access Bank.

He has had speaking engagements across the world including most recently at Silicon Valley[6] and Financial Times summit in Mozambique.[7][8]

In 2016, Wigwe founded The HOW Foundation, a non-profit organization.[9]

Awards and achievements

Under Wigwe, Access Bank has amassed quite a number of awards. In 2016, it won Bank of the Year and CEO of the Year[10] at the BusinessDay Banking awards in Lagos. It also clinched three prestigious awards at the annual Africa Banking Awards for the “Outstanding Business Sustainability” in the 2016 Karlsruhe Sustainable Finance Awards in Germany, the first ever for an African financial institution. Access Bank Plc repeated the performance at the 2017 Karlsruhe Sustainable Finance Awards in Germany by receiving the “Outstanding Business Sustainability Achievement Award".

Wigwe himself was named 2016 Banker of The Year separately by The Sun[11] and Vanguard [12] newspapers, two of Nigeria's biggest newspapers.

The Boys’ Brigade Nigeria

In recognition of his exemplary role in the society and contributions to youth development, the Boys’ Brigade (BB), inaugurated Herbert Wigwe, as State Patron for Lagos State Council in 2016.[13][14]

The Access Conference

His commitment to social advancement birthed the ‘Thought-Leadership Series’ known as The Access Conference.[15] The biennial event is Access Bank’s response to a global call for corporate involvement in resolving the major challenges facing humanity. Since its inauguration in 2013, the Access Conference has consistently engaged global leaders with provoking debates on issues of threats and opportunities to the world. In the 2013 edition themed ‘Sustainable Leadership’, Wigwe spoke alongside George W. Bush, Nicolas Sarkozy and John Kufuor,[16] reaffirming the importance of leadership to national and corporate successes.

At the 2015 edition, Wigwe hosted distinguished global leaders such as Steve Wozniak, N. R. Narayana Murthy and José María Figueres, Muhammad Yunus and Ted Souder (Head, Industry (Retail) at Google[17][18] for discussion of the theme ‘Leading in a Transformational World – The Imperative of Innovation’. Through the conference, Access Bank has reassured the international community of Nigeria’s readiness to contribute to solving major global challenges and making the world a better place for humanity.


Wigwe, Access Bank and UNICEF have a collaboration in place to offer support to vulnerable children, orphans and internationally displaced persons in the northern part of Nigeria. To raise awareness for this purpose, the bank organizes the annual high-profile Access Bank/UNICEF Charity Shield Polo tournament.[19]

In February 2017, he was named co-chair of Nigerian Business Coalition against AIDS (NiBUCCA),[20] a private sector initiative to help eradicate HIV/AIDS in Nigeria and support people living with the condition.

Personal life

In January 2015, Nigerian newspaper The Punch described him as "one of Nigeria's stylish top executives". He is married to Chizoba Wigwe[21] (née Nwuba) and has 4 children: Chizi, Tochi, Hannah and David.[22] He hails from Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State, but lives and works in Lagos. He has 3 sisters and 1 brother: Joyce, Peggy, Stella and Emeka as well as 2 nieces: Aleruchi and Zara including 4 nephews: Ruchi, Oj, Chinweike and Obumneke..

His nephew, Ruchi Wigwe, is a musician and has released his first single 'Fire' on May 5, 2017.


  1. "Stocks". Bloomberg.com. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  2. Editorial, Reuters. "Officer Profile - Quotes - Reuters.co.in". Reuters India. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 December 2014. Retrieved 3 April 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. "From 65th to 4th: how Access Bank climbed the ranks of Nigeria's banks - World Finance". Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  5. "Board Chairman of Access Bank Ghana appointed Group MD/CEO". Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  6. "Herbert Wigwe, Access Bank CEO, Addresses Fintech Audience at Silicon Valley – Financial Technology". Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  7. "Access Bank GMD Herbert Wigwe to speak at Financial Times Summit in Mozambique - BellaNaija". www.bellanaija.com. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  8. "Access Bank GMD Herbert Wigwe to speak at Financial Times Summit in Mozambique - Bella Naija - Financial News". mozambique.financialsweb.com. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  9. "Meet Antonia Ally, the Young Founder & CEO of 'The How Foundation'". onobello.com. Retrieved 4 September 2020.
  10. "Access Bank is Nigeria's Best Bank, Herbert Wigwe is Bank CEO of the year". 11 September 2016. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  11. "The Sun award'll keep me going –Wigwe, Banker of the Year 2016 - The Sun News". sunnewsonline.com. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  12. "Banker of the year Wigwe: Thriving in adverse circumstances - Vanguard News". 1 January 2017. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  13. "Wigwe's leadership qualities earn him patron Boys' Brigade — Daily Times Nigeria". 7 December 2016. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  14. Amuche, Ngozi (7 December 2016). "Access Bank boss becomes Boy's Brigade patron". Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  15. Adiele, Chinedu. "Access Conference 2015: Steve Wozniak, Aliko Dangote, Herbert Wigwe, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, Jose-Maria Figueres others attend second edition". Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  16. alexsamade (23 April 2014). "2013 Access confab: World leaders unite, set agenda for sustainable leadership". Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  17. "Steve Wozniak, Herbert Wigwe, Governor Ambode, others step out for Access Conference 2015 (PHOTOS) » YNaija". 11 December 2015. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  18. "Herbert Wigwe, Ambode, Steve Wozniak and others step out for Access Conference 2015". Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  19. "Access Bank MD, Herbert Wigwe promises more support for UNICEF, vulnerable children". 21 July 2016. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  20. "Wigwe, Terraz emerge NiBUCCA co-chairman". Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  21. "Herbert Wigwe: Excellence and the Banker extraordinaire - BusinessDay : News you can trust". 17 July 2016. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  22. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 12 May 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)