Meet Bolaji Agbede, the Woman Stepping Into Herbert Wigwe’s Shoes as Access Bank’s CEO

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  • Full name: Bolaji Olaitan Agbede
  • Birthday: October 22
  • Role: Group Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings PLC

It may be tasking for anyone fill the vacuum left behind by the Herbert  Wigwe, the late Group Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings PLC, but to preserve his significant legacies, the Board of Directors of the bank announced on Monday, February 12, 2024, the appointment of Ms. Bolaji Olaitan Agbede as the acting GCEO of one of Africa’s biggest retail banks.

The replacement of Wigwe became imperative after he, along with two family members and others, died in an ill-fated Eurocopter EC130 crash near Nipton, California, on February 9, 2024. The helicopter was operated by Orbic Air.

New leadership

In a letter dated February 12 and addressed to the Nigerian Exchange Group, Access Holdings PLC says the appointment of Agbede is subject to the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

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Who Is This Woman Who Wants to Continue Wigwe’s Legacies?

Bolaji Agbede is the most senior founding Executive Director in Access Holdings PLC and was in charge of Business Support until her elevation to the position of GCEO.

Career

Her over three decades of banking experience started off at Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) as an Executive Trainee in 1992.

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In less than 10 years, she rose to the position of manager at GTBank and subsequently served in various capacities, including Relationship Manager and Vault Custodian.

In 2003, Wigwe’s successor joined a business consulting firm, JKG Limited, as the company’s CEO.

Barely a year at JKG, Agbede joined Access Bank in 2003 as an Assistant General Manager, where she was saddled with responsibility of managing Access Bank’s portfolio of chemical trading companies.

Since 2010, she has been the head of the Human Resources Department. The team she headed was responsible for recruiting the best hands to join the bank’s brilliant workforce and the human capital development of the Access Holdings PLC.

Educational background 

  • Bsc in Mathematics and Statistics in 1990 in the University of Lagos (UNILAG)
  • Master of Business Administration degree in 2002  from Cranfield University, UK

Professional Bodies Membership

  • Chartered Institute of Management UK
  • Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria

Leadership courses

  • High-Performance Leadership Programme organized by the IMD
  • Strategic Talent Management Programme organized by the London Business School.

Bank acquisition expert

In 2005, she spreahesded the team that integrated the employees of Marina International Bank and Capital Bank into Access fold.

She repeated the same feat in 2012, after Access Bank acquired Intercontinental Bank Plc.

Again, she played a pivotal role in the merger between Access Bank and Diamond Bank PLC in 2019 and managed the successful integration of staff members of the bank into Access fold.

Non-profit organization

The new Access Bank’s boss is a board member of Lagos-based non-profit organization FATE Foundation, which harnesses the entrepreneurial spirit of Nigerians to provide support to tackle youth unemployment in the country.

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The task ahead

Ms Agbaje becomes the first woman to be appointed as Access Bank CEO and has a huge task ahead, including motivating her workers to grow, retain, and satisfy the bank’s over 30 million customer base and more than 900,000 shareholders.

At the time of publication, the market capitalisation of Access Holdings PLC was over N880 Billion, making it one of the biggest companies in Nigeria by Market Cap.

With this sudden change, the new CEO will have under her management over 600 branches and service outlets spread across 12 countries around the world, including some African countries, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.

Author

  • Opeyemi Quadri

    Ope is a finance writer and researcher with 10+ years of experience in content creation. His interests cut across decentralized finance, investment, foreign exchange, government policies and politics.

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