Meet Nigeria's Top Female Bank CEOs, Blazing The Trail in The Industry

Meet Nigeria's Top Female Bank CEOs, Blazing The Trail in The Industry

  • 2021 opened the floodgates for women in banking to mount the saddles otherwise occupied by men in the ecosystem
  • Men mainly dominate the Nigerian banking industry, but there are women in top positions in most banks
  • Fidelity, Lotus, Citi Bank, FCMB, and other banks in Nigeria are led by energetic women who have taken them to greater heights

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2021 was called the year of corporate women in Nigeria. In that year alone, more women mounted the saddles of top banks in Nigeria than in any other year in history.

About four women emerged and assumed the enviable positions of Managing Directors/Chief Executive Officers of different banks in Nigeria.

Women in banking, Citi Bank, Bank CEOs, Fidelity Bank
Top Nigerian women leading top banks in Nigeria
Source: UGC

That same year, Nigeria's ex-World Bank Managing Director, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, emerged as the Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Here are Nigeria's top female CEOs leading their banks to great heights:

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Yemisi Edun

For the first time, at First City Monument Bank (FCMB), a woman mounted the saddle of the bank founded by Otunba Subomi Balogun.

Yemisi Edun became the bank's Managing Director, joining the increasing number of women in top positions in banks in Nigeria.

She mounted the position after 34 years in the banking industry. She spent 20 years with FCMB.

She began her career in 1987 with Akintola Williams Deloitte. She joined FCMB in 2000 as Head of Divisional Internal Audit and Control before becoming Executive Director/Chief Finance officer at FCMB.

Miriam Olusanya, CEO, GTBank

Olusanya is also the first female MD of GTBCo after 30 years. She succeeded Segun Agbaje after spending 23 years with the bank.

She has a first degree from the University of Ibadan and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Liverpool.

He joined GTBCo in 1998 as an executive trainee and became Executive Director before being appointed to the new position.

Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, CEO, Fidelity Bank

Onyeali-Ikpe mounted the saddle as the MD/CEO of Fidelity in January last year. She also became the first female MD in the bank's 36 years of existence.

She was the Executive Director for Lagos and South West directorate, leading the bank's business in the six states in the region.

She has a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from the University of Nsukka and a Master of Laws degree from Kings College, London.

She attended several executive pieces of training in global institutions, including Havard Business School and the Wharton School University of Pennsylvania, among others.

Tomi Somefun, CEO, Unity Bank

Oluwatomi Somefun started as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Unity Bank in August 2015 after 26 years in the banking industry.

She has her first degree in England Education from the Obafemi Awolowo University. In addition, she attended executive and Management training at the Columbia Business School and the Havard Business School.

Somefun is a member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria CIBN, the Institute of Directors, and the Bank Directors Association of Nigeria.

Bukola Smith, MD (FSDH Merchant Bank)

Smith mounted the saddle of the bank in April 2021 as the Managing Director of FSDH Merchant Bank.

She has 28 years in the banking industry with a membership of high-profile institutes in the financial sector.

She is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Institutes of Bankers and an Associate member of the Certified Institute of Pensions.

She worked in FCMB in 2006 and served in various capacities, including as the Executive Director, Business Development, responsible for the bank's 2o0 branches in Nigeria.

She handled the FCMB's Women in Business Desk, known as SheVenturres, supporting female entrepreneurs, FCMB Trustees, and FCMB Custody.

She bagged a Bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Lagos and an MBA from the Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester.

Ireti Samuel-Ogbu, MD, Citibank

Samuel-Ogbu took over the reins of Citibank, Nigeria, a part of Citigroup, in September 2020. Her career in banking spans 32 years. She has held various positions as Head of Cash Management Africa and Managing Director of payment and receivables, treasury and Trade Solutions Europe, Middle East and Africa at Citi's Institutional Clients based in London.

She had her first degree in Accounting and Finance from Middlesex University and a Masters's degree from the University of Bradford in the United Kingdom.

Halima Buba, SunTrust

In 2021, Halima Buba became the new MD/CEO of SunTrust Bank.

She has 20 years in banking across several banks, including Allstates Trust Bank, Zenit Bank, Inland Bank, Oceanic Bank and Ecobank.

Kafilat Araoye, MD/CEO, Lotus Bank

Araonye mounted the saddle of one of Nigeria's newest banks in June 2021. Her experience in banking spans 25 years, including in risk management, human resources, business development, strategy, payments, and international and domestic operations, among others.

She began her career in banking at GTBCo in 1990 after joining as a pioneer Head of the Personnel unit.

Jim Ovia, Zenith Bank Chairman, earns N1.5 billion from interim dividends in second-half of 2022 reported that the founder and Chairman of Zenith Bank, Jim Ovia, cashed out big time from his 5.08 billion share units in the bank.

Reports say that Zenith Bank released its half-year financial report with 30 kobo interim dividends, from which Ovia earned a massive sum.

According to a breakdown, Ovia owns 3.55 billion units of direct shares and indirect share units of 1.55 billion, giving him a controlling right of 116.16 per cent of the company.


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