He needs no introduction because his exploits in the Nigerian banking sector have earned him a name that is firmly entrenched in the public consciousness. Herbert Wigwe is one of the pioneers of modern banking in Nigeria and a business leader reputed for his commitment to solving some of Africa’s problems. For Herbert, leadership is a platform that must be leveraged to meet societal needs and instigate change.
He is currently in his 3rd year as the Group Managing Director of Access Bank; one of the continent’s most formidable financial institutions; and his leadership style has stirred conversations amongst analysts and opinion leaders. Although not unknown for exemplary conducts, but the centrality of leadership to the success and sustainability compelled a second look at what constitutes leadership, which manifestly has boosted Access Bank’s fortunes.
Historically, Access Bank is a financial institution with several bragging rights and rich heritage. From its little beginning as a mid-sized commercial bank with an industry ranking of 65th position out of the 69 banks operating in Nigeria then, the bank grew under the watch of Herbert Wigwe and his predecessor, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, to become a financial powerhouse with the capacity to affect the African economy and positively influence human lives.
Under Herbert Wigwe, Access Bank’s character has changed and its sphere of influence expanded. The bank has attained a status that enables it to offer more than banking services, to change developmental agenda and instigate social change. In explaining this role, Herbert Wigwe, who recently received the award for Outstanding Business Sustainability at the 2016 Karlsruhe Sustainable Finance Award in Germany on behalf of the bank for holistically embedding sustainability across its operations said, “ Access Bank operations and activities at this time is a reflection of the vision of its founding fathers. Like my predecessor, I have a duty to steer the affairs of this bank in a manner that promotes societal good and interest. Our business model encourages us to become that catalyst for the change Africa seeks”.
While the bank’s operations have continued to attract international commendations and awards, such as the 2016 ‘Africa’s best Bank Transformation’ in the Euromoney 2016 Awards for Excellence, Herbert Wigwe is affecting lives with his resources. Through his personal foundation, the HOW Foundation, the accomplished business leader, recently conducted malaria test on and donated mosquito nets to 1,000 people in Otuokpo, River State.
As the founder of the HOW foundation, Herbert Wigwe believes that the platforms will provide him an veritable opportunity to intervene in societal problems as an individual who is concerned about social wellbeing. With the HOW Foundation, Herbert Wigwe intends to give a new lease to orphaned and vulnerable children in the society. He thinks that with adequate love and support, his foundation will unlock the potentials of these children and and lead them to the points accomplishments.