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Women Breaking Boundaries In Banking Industry

Nigeria’s corporate space mostly perceived as ‘male-dominated’ has seen more women occupying key positions in recent years. The Africa’s banking sector, which mostly has men…

Nigeria’s corporate space mostly perceived as ‘male-dominated’ has seen more women occupying key positions in recent years.

The Africa’s banking sector, which mostly has men occupying the positions of Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer witnessed a paradigm shift when Bola Kuforiji-Olubi became the first woman to chair the board of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) in 1984.

This change did not stop with Kuforiji-Olubi heading the affairs of the UBA. Rather, it saw the emergence of more women taking key decisions on finance and banking in Nigeria.

In commemoration of the Women’s History Month celebrated annually in March, Daily Trust will be highlighting the achievements of these amazing women heading various financial institutions in the country.

Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe

The year 2021 began on an interesting note for Fidelity Bank as
Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe became the first female MD/CEO to be at the helm of affairs of the bank from January 1, 2021.

Born on July 28, 1964, Onyeali-Ikpe is the first female to occupy the position since the bank’s inception in 1988.

She holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and a master’s degree in law from King’s College, London.

Onyeali-Ikpe started her banking career as a legal officer with the defunct African Continental Bank in 1990 and worked with other notable financial institutions in the country before joining the Fidelity Bank in 2015 where she served as the executive director for Lagos and South-West Directorate.

The Fidelity Bank boss has attended executive training programmes at global institutions including Harvard Business School, Wharton School University of Pennsylvania, INSEAD School of Business, Chicago Booth School of Business and London Business School.

Miriam Olusanya

On July 14, 2021, Guaranty Trust Company (GTCO), formerly Guaranty Trust Bank, saw a change in its 31-year-old history when Miriam Olusanya emerged as the first female to head the company.

Olusanya is a graduate of pharmacy from the University of Ibadan, Oyo State, and holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Liverpool.

She joined GTB as an executive trainee in 1998. Until her appointment as the MD, she was an executive director at the bank.

Halima Buba

Halima Buba, the MD/CEO of SunTrust Bank, holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from the University of Maiduguri, Borno State, as well as an MBA from the same university.

Buba is a seasoned Banker with over 20 years’ cognate experience. She has worked with different financial institutions in the country including Allstates Trust Bank, Zenith Bank, Inland Bank Plc, Oceanic Bank Plc and Ecobank Nigeria Limited.

She is an alumnus of the Lagos Business School Senior management programme, a senior honourary member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers and a fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants.

The SunTrust Bank MD 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.

Yemisi Edun

Just like her colleagues in Fidelity Bank and GTCO, Yemisi Edun is the first female MD/CEO of First City Monument Bank (FCMB). She assumed the position on July 13, 2021 after the suspension of Adam Nuhu, who was allegedly involved in an extra marital affair.

Edun holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, as well as a master’s in international accounting and finance from the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom.

Until her appointment as the bank’s MD, she was the chief financial officer of the bank.

Edun is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and a CFA holder. She is also an associate member of the Chartered Institute of Stock Brokers, an associate member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, and a member of the Information Systems Audit and Control.

Ireti Samuel-Ogbu

Ireti Samuel-Ogbu was appointed as the MD/CEO of CitiBank in September 2020. She is the first female CEO of the bank.

She obtained BA (Hons) Accounting and Finance from Middlesex University, UK and bagged an MBA from the University of Bradford, also in the UK.

Prior to being appointed as 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.

She has also been on the Board of Citibank Nigeria Limited for the last five years as a non-executive director.

Samuel-Ogbu has held various roles across Citi’s businesses in the UK, Nigeria and South Africa, having worked in each of these countries twice.

Oluwatomi Somefun

Nigerian business woman and banker, Oluwatomi Somefun, was appointed as the MD/CEO of Unity Bank plc in 2015.

She obtained a Bachelor of Education in English in 1981 from the OAU and she is an alumnus of Harvard Business School and University of Columbia Business School, New York.

She started her career in Accounting and Financial Consulting with Peat Marwick & Co, and subsequently moved to Arthur Andersen & Co (now KPMG).

Somefun has worked in several areas across the industry, spanning Treasury & Institutional Banking, Investment Banking, Retail and Commercial Banking. Prior to joining Unity Bank, she had a distinguished career with the UBA where she sat on the board of several subsidiaries, including being the maiden CEO of the UBA Pensions Custodian which she managed for eight years, as well supervising the South-West region of the bank.

In a society that’s highly patriarchal, these key players in the financial and banking sector have built solid foundations. They are acting as role models for the girl child and challenging women to push further, break more bounds for the coming generation of women leaders.

We wish these women a flourishing tenure and a Happy Women History Month!

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