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Nigerian Banker and Business Icon Herbert Wigwe Dies in Tragic Helicopter Crash


By Grace Chigbu


Nigerian banking and business circles are mourning the untimely demise of Herbert Onyewumbu Wigwe, a titan in the financial industry and the CEO of Access Bank Plc. Wigwe, aged 57, tragically lost his life in a helicopter crash on February 9, 2024, while en route to attend the Super Bowl LVIII championship in Las Vegas, United States.

Born on August 15, 1966, Wigwe’s journey from his roots in Isiokpo, Rivers State, Nigeria, to the helm of one of Nigeria’s top five banking institutions was marked by unwavering dedication and exceptional leadership. Graduating with distinction, Wigwe embarked on his professional journey, starting at Coopers & Lybrand before making significant strides at Guaranty Trust Bank. His career reached new heights when he joined Access Bank in 2002 as the Deputy Managing Director, eventually ascending to the position of Chief Executive Officer in January 2014.

Under his stewardship, Access Bank experienced remarkable growth and expansion, solidifying its position as a powerhouse in Nigeria’s financial landscape. Wigwe’s strategic vision and innovative approach propelled the bank to unprecedented success, earning him widespread acclaim and admiration both domestically and internationally.

Beyond his professional achievements, Herbert Wigwe was a devoted family man. He shared a profound partnership with his wife, Chizoba Wigwe, and was a loving father to their four children. His passing leaves a void not only in the banking industry but also in the hearts of his loved ones and colleagues, who remember him for his kindness, integrity, and generosity.

The news of Wigwe’s tragic demise has sent shockwaves through the business community, with tributes pouring in from across Nigeria and beyond. Colleagues, competitors, and dignitaries alike have expressed their condolences, reflecting on Wigwe’s indelible legacy and the profound impact he had on countless lives.

Access Bank Plc released a statement mourning the loss of their esteemed leader, describing Wigwe as a visionary whose leadership transformed the bank and inspired those around him. The statement emphasized Wigwe’s unwavering commitment to excellence and his passion for driving positive change within the banking industry.

In addition to his professional accolades, Wigwe was recognized for his philanthropic endeavors and commitment to community development. His contributions extended beyond the boardroom, as he actively supported initiatives aimed at education, healthcare, and social empowerment, leaving a lasting legacy of compassion and altruism.

In this time of mourning, our thoughts and prayers are with the Wigwe family, his loved ones, and all those whose lives he touched. Herbert Wigwe’s spirit will live on in the hearts of those who knew him, forever immortalized in the annals of Nigerian business history.



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