Herbert Wigwe: Banking Mogul Who Started Out As PwC Management Consultant

The life of Herbert Wigwe (15 August 1966 – 10 February 2024) was a testament to the transformative power of grit and ambition and the opportunities that Nigeria offered enterprising men of his generation. He studied Accounting at the University of Nigeria.
Upon graduation joined the Lagos office of the audit firm Coopers and Lybrand (which merged with Price Waterhouse to form PwC) where he trained as a management consultant before qualifying as a chartered accountant.

Wigwe left consulting for the banking industry and rose to become Executive Director, Institutional Banking at GT Bank after ten years at the bank. In 2002, Wigwe and a colleague from GTB, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, teamed up to make one of the most consequential deals in Nigerian banking, buying a stake in Access Bank which ranked only 65th by asset out of Nigeria’s then 89 banks.

Herbert Wigwe at a How Foundation event

The pair grew their acquisition in the next two decades into one of Nigeria’s biggest banks. A major turning point in the journey was the controversial 2012 acquisition of Intercontinental Bank PLC, which made Access Bank Nigeria’s fourth-largest bank.

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Wigwe became CEO and Group Managing Director of Access Bank in January 2014. He spearheaded a series of strategic initiatives, including the expansion of the bank’s footprint across Africa, the adoption of cutting-edge technology and digital banking solutions.

In 2023, Herbert made a foray into education which could still become his main legacy, investing $500 million in establishing Wigwe University. The university was clearly intended to become one of the best in West Africa if not on the continent.

 

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