Juliet Jacob Ochenje
Access Holdings Plc has confirmed the unfortunate passing of Dr. Herbert Wigwe, CFR, the esteemed founding Group CEO of the company and former Group Managing Director of Access Bank Plc. Tragically, Dr. Wigwe, along with his wife and son, lost their lives in a helicopter accident on February 9, 2024, in the United States.
The company made the confirmation in a statement issued on Sunday, the company expressed its deep sorrow over his death but affirmed its commitment to continue building upon Wigwe’s legacy of growth and operational excellence.
“Access Family Is deeply saddened by the passing of Herbert, Doreen, and Chizi. “We offer our heartfelt condolences to their family and friends.
“Dr. Wigwe played a vital role in the growth and success of the Access franchise, bringing his immense dedication, enthusiasm, and expertise to the Bank since he became a part of it in 2002.
The Chairman of Access Holdings, Abubakar Jimoh, expressed that the Access Family has experienced a significant loss.
He said, “Dr. Wigwe was not only a close friend but also a remarkable individual with exceptional intelligence, admirable personal traits, and extensive business expertise.
“These qualities greatly benefited the Access Family, and they are grateful for all that he contributed.
“We have faith that the Access Group will continue to build on Dr. Wigwe’s success in driving growth and operational excellence.”
Wigwe played a significant role in the expansion of Access Bank, which he co-founded alongside Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede.
After becoming CEO in 2014, he focused on expanding the bank in Nigeria and Africa.
By 2022, he had taken on the role of CEO at Access Holdings.
Under his leadership, Access Bank became the largest retail bank in Sub-Saharan Africa based on its customer base.
“Wigwe held positions on the Access Bank UK board and the Nigerian Business Coalition Against AIDS (NiBUCAA). He actively supported the fight against malaria in Africa, collaborating with the Corporate Alliance on Malaria. Alongside these commitments, he served on the boards of the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company and Friends Africa.
Additionally, he held honorary memberships in the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, and the Institute of Credit Administration.
Wigwe’s dedication to sustainable development goals, as outlined by the United Nations, greatly influenced the growth strategy of Access Holdings, earning him the prestigious African Banker of the Year award twice.
“Wigwe has an impressive academic background, having obtained a degree in Accounting from the University of Nigeria, 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.
Additionally, he completed the Executive Management Program at the renowned Harvard Business School.
Currently, he has ventured into establishing Wigwe University, the first Ivy League institution in Africa, to deliver exceptional education and nurture courageous future leaders.