Herbert Wigwe, the group chief executive officer of Access Bank Holdings Plc, has involved in a helicopter crash in California, United States.
Wigwe, his wife and son were in the helicopter when it crashed in California near the Nevada border, as well as Abimbola Ogunbanjo, the group chairman of Nigerian Exchange Group Plc (NGX Group).
Six passengers were onboard, the US government confirmed all dead in a statement on Saturday
According to report, the chopper, identified as a Eurocopter EC 130, was headed to Las Vegas when it crashed on Friday night near Nipton, between Nevada and California.
The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), in a statement stated that all onboard are dead.
The FAA said no survivors had been found as of yesterday.
“We were made aware of a downed aircraft at approximately 10:12 p.m., on February 9, 2024. The scene of the crash was determined to be east of the 15-Freeway, near Halloran Springs Road,” the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board said they were investigating the cause of the crash at the time of filing this report.
Wigwe started his professional career with Coopers & Lybrand Associates, an international firm of Chartered Accountants.
He later moved to Guaranty Trust Bank Plc where he spent over 10 years and managed several portfolios, including financial institutions, large corporates and multinationals.
He left Guaranty Trust Bank as an Executive Director to co-lead the transformation of Access Bank Plc in March 2002 as Deputy Managing Director. He was appointed Group Managing Director/CEO effective January
1, 2014 and served in that capacity till May 2022.
He was subsequently appointed a Non-Executive Director of the Bank effective May 2022.
Wigwe, until his demise, was an alumnus of the Harvard Business School Executive Management Programme. He holds a master’s degree in Banking and International Finance from the University College of North Wales, a master’s degree in Financial Economics from the University of London and a B.Sc. degree in Accounting from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
He is also a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN). Wigwe is the Chairman of The Access Bank (UK) Ltd and a Non-Executive Director of Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company Plc; FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange; Shared Agents Network Expansion Facilities Ltd and Agri-Business/ SME Enterprises Investment Scheme. He is also a member of the Governing Council of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).
His remarkable achievements in the transformation of Access Bank into a holdco structure cannot be over emphasised.
Indeed, under his leadership, the bank, previously ranked 65th among 89 banks operating in Nigeria, was transformed into a world-class African financial institution.
He succeeded in giving the bank international visibility and prominence with subsidiaries across Africa, Europe and Asia.
In addition, he played a remarkable role in the merger between Access Bank and Diamond Bank in 2018 that transformed the bank to number one slot in some parameters like assets and retail business with over 600 branches.
Wigwe recently bagged the ‘African Banker of the Year’ award at the 2021 edition of the African Banker Awards for his outstanding leadership skills in the market expansion of the bank during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beyond his role at Access Bank, Wigwe was also involved in various philanthropic activities through the Herbert Wigwe Foundation, which focuses on education, health, women empowerment and entrepreneurship. He is a strong advocate for sustainable development and social impact in Nigeria.
He is a respected and influential figure in the Nigerian banking industry, known for his leadership, strategic acumen and commitment to driving positive change.
He embarked on a university project, Wigwe University, but couldn’t live to see it and his other visions through as the wind of death has blown him away.
In a tribute titled ‘Tragic Loss: Remembering Herbert Wigwe, the Visionary CEO of Access Holdings’, the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, described him as a visionary leader whose legacy extends far beyond the realm of finance