Meet The Women Running 11 Nigerian Major Banks

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The landscape of Nigerian banking is undergoing a remarkable transformation, with women increasingly taking the helm of major banks. This shift is not only a testament to the breaking of traditional gender barriers but also highlights the growing recognition of women in leadership roles in banks.

A report by Agusto Consulting highlights this trend, showing that the share of women on bank boards surged to an all-time high of 25% in 2022, up from 18% in 2018. This is a clear sign that the banking sector is embracing diversity and inclusivity, recognizing the invaluable contributions that women bring to the table.

The recent naming of Adaora Umeoji as the new Group Managing Director/CEO of Zenith Bank, starting on June 1, 2024, is a big deal in banking. Her rise to this top job shows that more and more women are becoming leaders in the industry. She is now one of the eleven women running big banks in Nigeria. Let’s mee the dynamic women who are steering some of Nigeria’s most prominent banks toward new horizons of success and innovation.

Adaora Umeoji – Zenith Bank

Adaora Umeoji’s educational background is as impressive as her career trajectory. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Jos, a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting, and a First-Class honors in Law from Baze University, Abuja. 

Her academic achievements extend to a Master of Laws from the University of Salford, UK, an MBA from the University of Calabar, and a doctorate in business administration from Apollos University, USA. Umeoji’s diverse educational portfolio is complemented by her participation in various management programs worldwide, including the MIT Sloan School of Management and Wharton Business School.

Tomi Somefun – Unity Bank

Tomi Somefun, the managing director/CEO of Unity Bank, is a testament to the power of education and determination. She graduated with a Second Class Upper degree in English Language from Obafemi Awolowo University and has been honored with a Doctor of Business Administration degree by Redeemer’s University. Somefun’s extensive experience in the banking sector is matched by her professional affiliations, including being a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria.

Miriam Olusanya – Guaranty Trust Bank Limited

Miriam Olusanya’s journey in the banking sector is marked by her strong academic foundation and strategic leadership skills. She holds a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Ibadan and an MBA from the University of Liverpool, UK. Olusanya’s role as the MD of GTBank is supported by her previous experience as the group treasurer and head of the wholesale banking division, showcasing her adeptness in managing the bank’s financial operations.

Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe – Fidelity Bank

Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, the managing director/CEO of Fidelity Bank, brings a wealth of experience and a strong legal background to her role. She holds Bachelor of Laws and Master of Laws degrees from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and King’s College, London. Her commitment to excellence is evident in her participation in executive training programs at some of the world’s top business schools, including Harvard, Wharton, INSEAD, and IMD.

Yemisi Edun – FCMB

Yemisi Edun’s leadership as the managing director of FCMB is supported by her strong academic credentials and professional experience. She holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Ife and a master’s degree in International Accounting and Finance from the University of Liverpool, UK. Edun’s career at FCMB began in 2000, and she has since held various key positions, including chief financial officer, before assuming her current role as managing director.

Bolaji Agbede – Access Holdings

Agbede’s rise to the position of acting group CEO of Access Holdings is a reflection of her extensive experience and leadership skills. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics and Statistics from the University of Lagos and an MBA from Cranfield University, UK, she has a solid educational foundation. Agbede’s career progression from an executive trainee to a senior executive in the banking sector showcases her dedication and ability to navigate the complexities of the financial industry.

Yetunde Oni – Union Bank of Nigeria

Yetunde Oni brings over 25 years of banking experience to her role as managing director/CEO of Union Bank of Nigeria. With a degree in Economics from the University of Ibadan and an MBA from Bangor University, Oni’s academic background is complemented by her professional achievements. Her journey in the banking sector includes significant roles at Ecobank Nigeria and Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria, where she demonstrated her leadership and expertise in commercial banking.

Bukola Smith – FSDH Merchant Bank

Bukola Smith’s career in banking is marked by her diverse experience and academic achievements. Holding a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Lagos and an MBA from Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, UK, Smith has a strong educational foundation. Her journey in the banking industry includes roles at FSB International Bank, Fidelity Bank, and First City Monument Bank Limited, where she held various key positions before joining FSDH Merchant Bank.

Ireti Samuel-Ogbu – Citi Bank

Ireti Samuel-Ogbu’s role as CEO and country officer for Nigeria and Ghana for Citi Bank is underpinned by her extensive educational and professional background. She obtained a BA Hons in Accounting and Finance from Middlesex University, UK, and an MBA from the University of Bradford, UK. Samuel-Ogbu’s career at Citi has seen her rise from the position of managing director of EMEA payments and receivables to her current leadership role, demonstrating her expertise in treasury and trade solutions.

Halima Buba – Suntrust Bank

Halima Buba, the managing director/CEO of Suntrust Bank, brings over 22 years of experience in the banking sector. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from the University of Maiduguri and an MBA from the same university. Buba’s career has spanned various roles at leading banks, including Allstates Trust Bank, Zenith Bank, and Ecobank Nigeria Limited. Her leadership at Sun Trust Bank is supported by her extensive experience and commitment to excellence in the banking industry.

Kafilat Araoye – Lotus Bank

Her academic and professional accomplishments underpin Kafilat Araoye’s role as the head of Lotus Bank. She holds a first degree in History from the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University, and an M.Sc. in Industrial Relations & Personnel Management from the University of Lagos. 

Araoye’s career began at National Oil and Chemicals Marketing Company Plc and later transitioned to Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, where she played a pivotal role in human resources. Her leadership at Lotus Bank is a testament to her expertise in Islamic finance and her commitment to ethical banking practices.

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