Herbert Onyewumbu Wigwe CFR Biography; Access Bank Ceo and Businessman

Herbert Onyewumbu Wigwe CFR was known as a business guru who was well recogn with in the business world, his sudden death shock the world, as Nigeria lost one of her finest brains, May his soul rest in peace.

He was 57 years old at death, as he was born on 15 August 1966 and died in an helicopter crash on 9 February 2024. He was the group managing director and CEO of Access Bank Plc, one of Nigeria’s top five banking institutions, after succeeding his business partner, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede.

Life Journey

Herbert Onyewumbu Wigwe entered the world on 15 August 1966, in Isiokpo, Rivers State[1] or Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. His father held a prominent position at the Nigerian Television Authority while his mother worked as a nurse. Wigwe graduated with a bachelor’s degree in accountancy from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 1987.

Back in 1990, Wigwe was awarded the British council scholarship to pursue a Master of Arts in banking and finance at the University College of North Wales (now Bangor University), which he completed in 1991. In 1996, he obtained a Master of Science in financial economics from the University of London.In 2018, he was honored with a doctorate from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, after completing the executive management program at Harvard Business School.

Wigwe began his professional journey at Coopers & Lybrand as a management consultant in the late 1980s, achieving chartered accountant status in 1989. He later joined Guaranty Trust Bank and worked there for more than ten years, eventually rising to the position of executive director around 1998.

Career Life

Wigwe began his career at Coopers & Lybrand and Guaranty Trust Bank before transitioning to Access Bank in 2002 as the company’s deputy managing director. In January 2014, he assumed the role of the company’s chief executive officer. He passed away in a helicopter accident on February 9, 2024, while en route to the Super Bowl LVIII championship in Las Vegas, USA.

Access Bank

Back in 2002, Wigwe and his business partner Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede acquired Access Bank. Their acquisition was postponed due to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s apprehensions about the couple’s age for bank ownership. From 2002 to 2017, the bank expanded and became the fourth largest bank in Nigeria. From 2002 to 2014, he held the position of deputy managing director at the company. Wigwe held the position of chairman at Access Bank Ghana Limited from 2013. He served as CEO and group managing director of Access Bank from January 2014 until his passing.

In 2018, Access Bank merged with Diamond Bank, solidifying its position as the leading bank in Nigeria. He had intended to grow the bank’s presence in Asia by early 2024, but passed away before the expansion could be officially rolled out.

Welcome to The Access Conference!

Wigwe played a key role in developing the leadership series called the Access Conference. This biennial event is Access Bank’s way of addressing the global need for corporate participation in solving the significant issues affecting humanity. Ever since its establishment in 2013, the Access Conference has been successful in involving international leaders in discussions about global challenges and possibilities. In the 2013 edition, focused on “Sustainable Leadership”, Wigwe shared the stage with George W. Bush, Nicolas Sarkozy, and John Kufuor, emphasizing the crucial role of leadership in both national and corporate achievements.

In the 2015 edition, Wigwe welcomed prominent global figures like Steve Wozniak, N. R. Narayana Murthy, José María Figueres, and Muhammad Yunus to engage in discussions on the theme “Leading in a Transformational World – The Imperative of Innovation”.

Wigwe, Access Bank, and UNICEF joined forces to provide assistance to vulnerable children, orphans, and internally displaced persons in northern Nigeria. To increase visibility for this cause, the bank hosts the prestigious Access Bank/UNICEF Charity Shield Polo tournament every year.

In 2016, Wigwe established The HOW Foundation, a non-profit organization.

He was appointed as co-chair of the Nigerian Business Coalition against AIDS in February 2017, a private sector effort aimed at eliminating HIV/AIDS in Nigeria and providing assistance to individuals affected by the disease.

Wigwe University, a private university established by Wigwe, was scheduled to open in September 2024.

Life outside of work

Wigwe was married to Chizoba Wigwe (née Nwuba) from 1994, and the couple had four children together.


Wigwe received the 2016 Banker of The Year award from The Sun and Vanguard, two of Nigeria’s largest newspapers.

Herbert Wigwe was inaugurated as State Patron for Lagos State Council by the Boys’ Brigade in 2016, in recognition of his exemplary role in society and contributions to youth development.

In October 2022, he was honored with the Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic by President Muhammadu Buhari, a prestigious Nigerian national award.

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