Turning fifty-one today, Herbert Wigwe Access Bank’s GMD and his predecessor on the job, his business partner and friend Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede have a great African bank and a rising global brand to show for their years of prodigious collaboration in the phenomenal growth of the Nigerian banking industry in the last two decades. Today, Herbert Wigwe is probably at once the most engaging and most visionary of GMDs among the five top Nigerian banks.
Beyond the outstanding profit margin, Herbert Wigwe’s collaboration with H.E Akinwunmi Ambode the proactive governor of Lagos State is firmly putting Nigeria’s economic nerve-center on the global marathon calendar. The Access Bank Lagos City Marathon is now the major international marathon in Sub-Saharan Africa. Perhaps, a Nigerian marathoner will explode into the first three in the race, next year, breaking the stronghold that Kenyan and Ethiopian marathoners – the best in the world- have set up in Lagos.
After three years of leading a pack of industry-defining banking professionals inspired to consistently create shareholder value, Herbert Wigwe’s visionary leadership in building the Access Bank global brand is well established and acknowledged.
Receiving the 2016 Bank of the Year Award in London, Herbert Wigwe explained his success at Access Bank. He said, ‘while innovation, excellent risk and corporate governance framework might be the advantage we have over our competitors, the bank is propelled by a vision of becoming the world’s most respected African Bank, and this requires us to do things differently to standout.’ The Award is an annual event of the Banker Magazine, a publication of the Financial Times of London, the world’s leading monthly journal of records for the global banking industry, with expertise in publishing developments in the African banking industry and beyond, reaching back over ninety years.
Herbert Wigwe’s Access Bank is currently one of the fastest growing and most efficient banks in Nigeria. It emerged the winner of the 2017 Karlsruhe Sustainable Finance Awards. Karlsruhe is Germany’s most sustainable city. A year earlier Access Bank had made history as the first African bank to receive the award: winning it again this year because of its continued success in its corporate strategy and business processes. The double feat is no doubt a global recognition of Access Bank’s impressive success in embedding sustainability in its operations. The award ceremony, which held on July 13th, 2017, was attended by CEOs of global banks, senior executives of international institutions and top German government officials. Reacting to the award at the presentation ceremony, Herbert Wigwe noted that the award served to validate the bank’s continuous efforts and commitment to globally accepted Sustainable Development Goals. Herbert Wigwe is probably the most critically acclaimed Nigerian bank GMD right now.
Two years ago when Herbert turned forty-nine
, he worked all day at the bank’s headquarters, not even taking an hour off to hoist a birthday drink with friends. Only three events gave away the fact that it was his birthday; a brief visit by a few family members around 8pm, a minstrel who came along to string a few birthday songs and a birthday cake probably presented by the bank staff.
Herbert Wigwe makes hardwork look easy in the confident, amiable but alert way he moves about demolishing mountain loads of his work.
‘I am always working,’ he shrugs, bringing the sense that he is a man who will have it no other way; a man who seamlessly combines family, work, and service to country. HBD Herbert Wigwe. Do have some fun today.