At a webinar organised by the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN Deputy Governor in charge of the Financial System Stability Directorate, Mrs Aishah Ahmad, as part of activities marking the 2022 International Women’s Day, Mr Godwin Emefiele, the CBN Governor said 8 out of 23 Chief Executives of banks in Nigeria are women. This represents 35 per cent leadership position of banks in Nigeria.
According to the CBN Chief, the bank, in a deliberate effort to increase women representation in the Banking industry, had been using a mandate he termed “the gender diversity model” as part of the criteria for approving the membership of boards of all institutions under its regulatory purview.
This deliberate approach at gender representation on the board of bank by the Apex Bank may be directly responsible for the now 35% women leadership of banks in Nigeria which is far above global average.
Here, in no particular order, is a look at the profile of the 8 powerfull women CEOs of Financial Institutions in Nigeria
Miriam Olusanya CEO, GTBank
Miriam Olusanya is the MD/MiriamCEO of Guaranty Trust Bank GTB. She is the first woman to ever hold the position. She assumed this position in July 2021 after the bank adopted the holding structure model. She is arguable the most powerful woman banker in Nigeria today being the CEO of one of the tier-1 banks in Nigeria. She, at 46 years old, is also one of the youngest CEO of banks in Nigeria by age and one of the few MDs that started their banking career in the same bank they currently head.
Education: She holds a Bachelor of Pharmacy (B. Pharm) degree from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria and a Master of Business Administration (Finance and Accounting) from the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom. She has also attended several executive management and banking specific developmental trainings
Career: Miriam joined GTB as an executive trainee in 1998. Until her appointment as Managing director 23 years after she started her career with GTBank, she was an executive director at the bank and her banking experience cuts across Transaction Services, Asset and Liability Management, Financial Markets, Investment Banking and Investor Relations.
Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe MD, Fidelity Bank
Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe She is also the first female MD/CEO of Fidelity Bank Nigeria. She assumed office on January 1, 2021. She has been an integral part of the transformation team at Fidelity Bank after she joined the bank as an executive director in January 2015.
Education: She studied at the Federal Government Girls’ College. Oweri, Imo State after which she obtained a law degree from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. She also has a master’s degree in Law from King’s College London. She has attended executive training programs at Harvard Business School, The Wharton School University of Pennsylvania, INSEAD School of Business, Chicago Booth School of Business, London Business School and IMD amongst others.
Career: She started her banking career as a legal officer with the defunct African Continental Bank in 1990. She then joined the First African Trust Bank as a treasury officer. She later joined Zenith Bank and Standard Chartered Bank respectively. In 2011, she joined Enterprise Bank as an executive director of the bank’s operations in Lagos and other locations in the South-Western region in Nigeria. Onyeali-Ikpe joined Fidelity bank as an executive director in January, 2015 and was appointed as the bank’s managing director in December 2020.
Tomi Somefun MD, Unity Bank
Oluwatomi Somefun is also the first female CEO of Unity Bank Plc. She was appointed in August 2015 and has since been responsible for the positive profit movement of the bank that was bedevilled with huge delinquent loan portfolio. She has been in the banking industry for over 25 years of her working career.
Education: She is a graduate of English Language from the Obafemi Awolowo University (formerly University of Ife). She is an alumnus of the Columbia Business School, and INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France, and Harvard Business School (HBS). She is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN)
Career: Prior to her appointment as the CEO of the bank, she served as the Executive Director overseeing the Lagos and South-West Business Directorates, the Financial Institution Division and Treasury Department of the Bank. Tomi had a distinguished career with UBA group where she led 2 major subsidiaries of UBA as MD/CEO including a start-up company, UBA Pensions Custodian where she was the pioneer Managing Director. Prior to UBA, Tomi also worked with two leading consulting firms: KPMG and Arthur Andersen (now KPMG).
Yemi Edun CEO, FCMB
Yemisi Edun is the first woman to ever hold the position of MD/CEO of FCMB. She assumed this position in July 2021 after the suspension of Adam Nuhu, the ex CEO of the bank.
Education: Yemisi Edun graduated with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Ife. She proceeded to the University of Liverpool, UK, where she graduated with a master’s degree in international accounting and finance. Edun is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and a CFA holder. She is also a Certified Stock Broker and a Certified Information System Auditor.
Career: Until her appointment as managing director of FCMB, she was the chief financial officer of the bank and the acting chief executive officer. She began her career with Akintola Williams Deloitte (member firm of Deloitte Touché Tohmatsu) in 1987, with main focus in Corporate Finance activities. She was also involved in audit of Banks and Other Financial Institutions. She joined FCMB in year 2000 as Divisional Head of Internal Audit and Control before assuming the role of Chief Financial Officer of the Bank.
Bukola Smith CEO, FSDH Merchant Bank
Bukola Smith became the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of FSDH Merchant Bank in April 2021. She brings 29 years of progressive experience in the banking industry with a track record of strategic execution and leadership.
Education: She holds an MBA from Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, U.K, and a B.Sc. Economics from the University of Lagos. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accounts of Nigeria (ICAN), Honorary Member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers and an Associate Member, Certified Institute of Pensions (Nigeria).
Career: Before her appointment as Managing Director, she was the Executive Director, Business Development at First City Monument Bank and held several other leadership positions since joining in 2006. Prior to joining FCMB in 2006, she worked with FSB International Bank from 1992 to 2000 and Fidelity Bank plc from 2000 to 2006 gaining experiences in several areas of banking including treasury operations, international trade services, foreign and local currency trading, bond trading, Correspondent Banking and relationship management of Non-Bank Financial Institutions and Private Banking Clients.
Ireti Samuel-Ogbu CEO, Citibank
Ireti Samuel-Ogbu was named the new MD/CEO for Citibank Nigeria Limited in September 2020. She is the first female CEO of the bank. She is also another of the female CEO who has spent her entire banking career with the bank she currently lead as CEO.
Education: She has 2 bachelor degrees from Middlesex University and a masters degree from University of Bradford
Career: Prior to being appointed the MD/CEO, she was the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Head, Payments and Receivables, Treasury and Trade Solutions (TTS) under Citi’s Institutional Clients Group (ICG) based in London, UK. She has also been on the Board of Citibank Nigeria Limited for the last 5 years as a non-Executive Director.
Halima Buba CEO, SunTrust Bank
Halima Buba was appointed as the MD/CEO of Sun Trust Bank in January 2021 after serving as the deputy general manager in Ecobank Nigeria. Halima is a Champion of youth and women empowerment, and consistently makes philanthropic contributions towards the girl child Education.
Education: She graduated with a bachelors degree in Business management and MBA from the University of Maiduguri. She is an alumnus of the Lagos Business School and honorary member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers and a Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants.
Career: Halima is a seasoned Banker with over 20 years cognate experience obtained from working in Allstates Trust Bank, Zenith Bank, Inland Bank Plc, Oceanic Bank Plc and Ecobank Nigeria Limited. She sits on the Board of several reputable Institutions, including those of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) as a Non-Executive Director and Anchoria Asset Management Company Limited.
Kafilat Araoye MD, Lotus Bank
Kafilat Araoye is the first MD/CEO of Lotus bank. Having being in banking for over 25 years, she was appointed as the MD Designate for LOTUS Bank then in formation in 2008 and has since being the MD/CEO of the bank after it started its full operations
Education: She holds a degree in History from the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University, and an M.Sc. in Industrial Relations & Personnel Management from the University of Lagos. She also holds Islamic Finance certifications issued by Ethica Institute of Islamic Finance, the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment/Bahrain Institute of Banking & Finance, as well as the Islamic Research & Training Institute. She attended various executive management courses at various institutions world over.
Career: She started her career in 1988 at National Oil and Chemicals Marketing Company Plc (now Conoil Nigeria Plc), and moved in 1990 to Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, as the pioneer head of Human Resources. She left with accolades in 2015 as General Manager but continued to consult for banks and other sectors through her consulting outfit, before joining Lotus bank in 2008.
Source: Wikipedia, Banks