Biography of Herbert Wigwe: Age, Career, Net Worth, Wife, Children, Parent, Siblings, Access Bank, Instagram, Death
Herbert Onyewumbu Wigwe was a Nigerian banker and entrepreneur who passed away on February 10, 2024 at the age of 57. He was the CEO of Access Holdings Plc, traded as Access Corporation, and the former Group Managing Director/CEO of Access Bank plc, one of Nigeria's top five banking institutions. He was also a philanthropist and a visionary leader who transformed Access Bank from a small commercial bank to a global financial institution.
In this blog post, we will explore his life story, achievements, family, net worth and legacy.
Early Life and Education
Herbert Wigwe was born on August 15, 1966 to parents of Ikwerre descent from Omueke Isiokpo in Rivers State. He had three sisters (Joyce, Peggy and Stella) and one brother (Emeka). He attended St. Gregory's College in Lagos for his secondary education and then proceeded to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka where he obtained a degree in accountancy in 1987.
He furthered his education by obtaining a master's degree in Banking and Finance from the University College of North Wales (now Bangor University) in 1989 and another master's degree in Financial Economics from the University of London in 1990. He also attended the Harvard Business School Executive Management Program in 2006.
He was a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), a Fellow of The Institute of Credit Administration, an Honorary member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria and a Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON).
Career and Achievements
Herbert Wigwe started his professional career with Coopers & Lybrand Associates, an international firm of chartered accountants, where he worked as a management consultant and later qualified as a chartered accountant. He then joined Capital Bank as a senior manager in charge of treasury and financial services.
In 1992, he moved to Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) where he spent over 10 years working in various capacities such as corporate banking, institutional banking and treasury. He rose to become the executive director in charge of institutional banking and was instrumental in developing GTBank's public sector business.
In 2002, he left GTBank along with his business partner and friend, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, to acquire a stake in Access Bank plc, which was then a small commercial bank ranked 65th out of 89 banks in Nigeria. They embarked on an ambitious transformation agenda that saw Access Bank grow from a regional bank with less than 10 branches to a global bank with over 600 branches across Nigeria, Africa and the UK.
Under their leadership, Access Bank became one of the most profitable banks in Nigeria and Africa, with a strong focus on innovation, customer service, corporate governance and social responsibility. They also led several landmark transactions such as the acquisition of Intercontinental Bank in 2012, which made Access Bank the fourth largest bank in Nigeria; the merger with Diamond Bank in 2019, which created the largest retail bank in Africa; and the listing on the London Stock Exchange in 2019, which enhanced Access Bank's international profile and access to capital.
Herbert Wigwe succeeded Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede as the Group Managing Director/CEO of Access Bank plc in January 2014 and continued to steer the bank to greater heights until April 2022 when he stepped down to become the CEO of Access Holdings Plc, a new entity that was created to oversee the non-banking businesses of Access Bank such as insurance, asset management, payments and digital banking.
He remained a non-executive director of Access Bank plc until his death. He also served as the chairman or board member of several other companies and organizations such as Access Bank (UK) Ltd, Access Investment & Securities Ltd, Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS), Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC), FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange, Shared Agents Network Expansion Facilities Ltd (SANEF), Agri-Business/ SME Enterprises Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS) and Friends Africa.
He was widely recognized as one of the most influential bankers and business leaders in Nigeria and Africa. He received numerous awards and honors such as African Banker of the Year (2016), BusinessDay CEO of the Year (2017), Forbes Best of Africa Award (2020), African Leadership Magazine African Business Leader Award (2020) and Leadership Newspaper Business Person of the Year (2020).
He was also passionate about giving back to society and supporting various causes such as education, health, entrepreneurship, women empowerment and environmental sustainability. He founded the Herbert Wigwe Foundation in 2018 to provide scholarships, mentorship and empowerment to young Nigerians. He also supported the How Foundation, which provides free malaria treatment and prevention to children and pregnant women; the Slum2School initiative, which provides quality education to children in slums; the W Initiative, which provides financial and non-financial services to women; and the Access Bank Art X Prize, which promotes emerging artists in Nigeria.
Family and Personal Life
Herbert Wigwe was married to Chizoba Wigwe (nee Nwuba), a lawyer and entrepreneur. They had four children: Chizi, Tochi, Hannah and David. He was a devoted husband and father who cherished his family and spent quality time with them.
He was also a man of faith who believed in God and lived by Christian values. He was a member of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) where he served as a pastor and a mentor to many.
He was an avid reader who enjoyed books on history, biographies, leadership and spirituality. He was also a sports enthusiast who loved football, golf and tennis. He was a fan of Arsenal FC and supported the Nigerian national team.
He had an active social media presence where he shared his insights, opinions and experiences with his followers. He had over 300,000 followers on Instagram (@herbertwigwe) where he posted pictures and videos of his work, family, travels and hobbies.
Herbert Wigwe has amassed a considerable fortune through his banking and investment activities. While his official net worth is not publicly disclosed, it is estimated that he is worth around $65.2 million. This makes him one of the richest bankers in Africa and a respected figure in the financial sector.
Wigwe University: A Dream Come True
One of the most remarkable achievements of Wigwe was the creation of Wigwe University, a groundbreaking institution of higher learning in Nigeria and West Africa. With a $500 million investment, the university set out to transform the landscape of education in the region, offering cutting-edge programs in management, science, engineering, and the arts.
The university, located in Isiokpo, Port Harcourt, received its accreditation from the National Universities Commission in June 2023. Its courses were tailored to meet the needs of vital sectors such as finance and technology, while also fostering leadership and entrepreneurial abilities.
Wigwe had a clear vision: to build an institution that could stand among the best in the world, yet retain its African identity. He aimed to attract top educators from across the globe, emphasizing the role of education as a catalyst for producing bold, creative leaders.
Death and Legacy
There are some unverified information from the US that Herbert Wigwe, the chief executive officer of Access Holdings Plc, may have been involved in a fatal helicopter accident near the border of California and Nevada.
The sources claim that the helicopter went down on Friday night, 10th 2024 near a city that lies between the two states, and that five other passengers, including his wife and son also lost their lives in the crash. The helicopter was reportedly heading to Las Vegas.
We are still trying to confirm the authenticity of this information and will update you as soon as we have more details.
Source: Biography insight