‘Legacy of Growth and Excellence’: Access Holdings Plc Announces Passing Of Group CEO Herbert Wigwe

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Access Holdings Plc has officially announced the death of its group Chief Executive Officer, Herbert Wigwe, who died on Friday night in California alongside his wife and son in a helicopter crash in the United States.

In an official statement released on Sunday, the company stated that even though his death was a huge loss, “the Access group will build further on Wigwe’s legacy of growth and operational excellence.”

The statement read “The Board of Directors of Access Holdings Plc (‘the Company’) has announced the passing of Dr. Herbert Wigwe, CFR, the Company’s founding Group Chief Executive Officer and former Group Managing Director of its flagship subsidiary, Access Bank Plc (‘the Bank’). Dr. Wigwe died alongside his wife and son on Friday, February 9, 2024, in a helicopter accident in the United States of America.

“The entire Access Family mourns the loss of Herbert, Doreen and Chizi. We extend our deep and sincere sympathies to his family and loved ones. 

“Dr. Wigwe was a key driving force and a larger-than-life personality who brought his remarkable passion, energy, and experience to the transformation of the Access franchise since joining the Bank in 2002.

Speaking on Wigwe’s passing, Abubakar Jimoh, Chairman of Access Holdings said,  “The Access Family has suffered a major loss with the passing of Dr. Wigwe who was a great friend and fine gentleman. 

“He had a prodigious intellect, admirable personal qualities, and vast business experience which he brought to bear on the Access Family and for which we owe him a debt of gratitude.

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 “We remain confident that the Access Group will build further on Dr. Wigwe’s legacy of growth and operational excellence.”

Wigwe was instrumental in the growth of Access Bank, which he co-founded with his friend and business partner Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede. He took over as Access Bank Group CEO in 2014, focusing on the Bank’s expansion in Nigeria and Africa before taking the helm at Access Holdings in 2022. Under his leadership, Access Bank drove its African strategy to become Sub Saharan Africa’s largest retail bank by customer base.

Wigwe was a member of the Access Bank UK board as well as the board of the Nigerian Business Coalition Against AIDS (NiBUCAA). 

He has long been an advocate for the eradication of malaria in Africa, working with the Corporate Alliance on Malaria to support this objective. He also sat on the board of the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company and Friends Africa and was an honorary member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria and a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and Institute of Credit Administration.

He was two-time winner of the African Banker of the Year award from the African Banker Awards, Wigwe was a passionate advocate of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which form the bedrock of Access Holdings’ growth strategy.

His academic credentials include 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. He also completed the Harvard Business School Executive Management Program.

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Wigwe recently founded Wigwe University, Africa’s first ivy league institution dedicated to providing a world-class education and raising the next generation of fearless leaders.

Chioma Kalu

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