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12 Women Who Were Appointed As Managing Directors Of Nigerian Banks



The Nigerian banking sector is currently seeing a surge in the number of women in senior positions. Several financial sector analysts have dubbed this growing trend a paradigm shift. Directors Of Nigerian Banks

Women currently account for about a third of Nigeria’s commercial bank Managing Directors/CEOs, far outnumbering their African counterparts and western financial hubs such as the United Kingdom, France, and Germany.

Nigerian banking institutions are increasingly focusing on women and leveraging their skills.

Eight women currently hold the positions of Chief Executive Officers (CEOs)/Managing Directors (MDs) of the country’s largest banks.

Here’s a look at some of the female Managing Directors/CEOs that have led or are now leading prominent Nigerian banks.


Cecilia Ibru, Oceanic Bank

Managing Directors Of Nigerian Banks

Cecilia Ibru was the managing director and chief executive officer of Oceanic Bank (now EcoBank).

Oceanic began as a small family-owned bank, but it expanded to become one of Nigeria’s largest publicly traded banks under Ibru’s leadership.

In 1990, Ibru became the general manager of Oceanic Bank. After seven years with the bank, she was promoted to managing director and CEO.

On August 13, 2009, Ibru was one of five bank CEOs sacked by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Later that year, she was arrested and pleaded guilty to accusations of fraud. She received an 18-month jail sentence and was ordered to forfeit nearly $1.2 billion (£786 million) in cash and assets.



Faith Tuedor-Matthews, Mainstreet Bank

In August 2011, Faith Tuedor-Matthews was appointed as the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Mainstreet Bank Limited.

This followed the consolidation of Afribank Plc, Bank PHB, and Spring Bank Plc, all of which were designated as bridged banks by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), and Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).

Mrs. Faith Tuedor- Matthews is a Harvard Business School graduate with an MBA from Aston University in Birmingham, United Kingdom.

She resigned from the board of Mainstreet Bank in February 2013.



Bola Adesola, Standard Chartered Bank

Managing Directors Of Nigerian Banks

In 2011, Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria Limited appointed Bola Adesola as its first Nigerian and first female CEO.

In 2019, after championing the growth of the bank, Bola was appointed Senior Vice-Chairman, Africa, for Standard Chartered Bank Group.

Bola Adesola is a Harvard Business School alumna and the immediate past-President of the Lagos Business School Alumni Association. Bola has a law degree from the University of Buckingham in the United Kingdom and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in both the United Kingdom and Nigeria.

In May 2021, she retired from Standard Chartered Bank after 10 years of impactful service.

In September, 2021, the Board of Directors of Ecobank Nigeria appointed Mrs. Bola Adesola as the Chairman of the Board.


Sola David-Borha, Stanbic IBTC Bank

Managing Directors Of Nigerian Banks

Sola David-Borha was the CEO of Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc from May 2011 to November 2012.

She was appointed to the IBTC board of directors in July 1994.

She later became the CEO of Stanbic IBTC Holdings until January 2017.

From January 2017, she served as the CEO of the Standard Bank Group’s Africa Regions.

On 15 April 2021, David-Borha retired after 31 years at Stanbic IBTC,


Oluwatomi Somefun, Unity Bank

Managing Directors Of Nigerian Banks

Unity Bank plc’s current Managing Director and CEO is Oluwatomi Somefun.

She graduated from Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Osun state, with a B.Ed. in English Language in 1981, and she also attended Harvard Business School and the University of Columbia Business School in New York.

Mrs. Somefun spent several years working for the United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA). During her time at UBA, she was in charge of and served on the boards of many businesses, including UBA Trustee, UBA Plc, UBA Capital, and Trustee Ltd.

Somefun was UBA Pension Custodian Ltd’s first Managing Director (MD)/Chief Executive Officer (CEO). She oversaw UBA Pension Custodian Ltd for eight years while also overseeing the bank’s South-West region.

Oluwatomi Somefun was appointed Executive Director of Unity Bank on March 4, 2015. In August 2015, her outstanding performance as Executive Director earned her the position of MD/CEO of Unity Bank.



Ireti Samuel-Ogbu, Citibank

Managing Directors Of Nigerian Banks

In September 2020, Ireti Samuel-Ogbu became the first female MD/CEO of Citibank Nigeria, a division of Citigroup.

Throughout her 32-year career with CitiGroup, she has held a variety of positions.

She worked for Citi’s Institutional Clients Group (ICG) in London, UK, as the Head of Cash Management in Africa and the Managing Director of payments and receivables, treasury and trade solutions (TTS) for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

She has held positions such as relationship management with Global Subsidiaries Group and the Public Sector Banking Team, as well as TTS sales and corporate finance in London, South Africa, and Nigeria.

Ireti Samuel-Ogbu earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance from Middlesex University and a master’s degree in accounting and finance from the University of Bradford, both in the United Kingdom. Managing Directors Of Nigerian Banks



Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, Fidelity Bank

Managing Directors Of Nigerian Banks

Following her appointment, Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe began her role as managing director of Fidelity Bank Plc on January 1, 2021.

She took over as managing director from Nnamdi Okonkwo, whose contract was set to expire on December 31, 2020.

Onyeali-Ikpe joined the bank in 2015 and oversaw the transformation of the directorate, leading it to profitability and maintaining impressive year-over-year growth across key performance indicators, including contributing over 28% of the bank’s earnings before tax, deposits, and loans.


Halima Buba, SunTrust Bank 

Managing Directors Of Nigerian Banks

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.

Buba has worked for many banks, including Allstates Trust Bank, Zenith Bank, Inland Bank Plc, Oceanic Bank Plc, and Ecobank Nigeria Limited, for over 20 years.

Buba graduated from the University of Maiduguri with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and an MBA. She is a fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants and a senior honorary member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, and she completed the Lagos Business School senior management program.

The Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) and Anchoria Asset Management Company Limited both have Halima Buba on their boards of directors.


Kafilat Araoye, Lotus Bank

Lotus Bank is a financial institution that recently received a non-interest banking license by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in June 2021.

The bank’s Managing Director is Kafilat Araoye.

Her 25 years of banking experience includes risk management, human resources, business development, strategy, payments, international and domestic operations among others.

In 1990, she began her three-decade banking career with GT Bank as the Pioneer Head of Personnel Unit.

She left GT Bank in 2015 to work as a Director for an Outsourcing and Management Consulting firm.


Yemisi Edun, FCMB

Managing Directors Of Nigerian Banks

In January 2021, First City Monument Bank Limited named Yemisi Edun as acting managing director following the resignation of embattled Adam Nuhu.

On July 4, 2021, FCMB Group Plc’s board of directors announced the nomination of Yemisi Edun as the bank’s substantive managing director.

Before being designated acting managing director, Edun was the bank’s executive director/chief financial officer.

Edun has approximately 35 years of experience in the workforce. She graduated from the University of Ife in Ile-Ife, Nigeria, with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a master’s degree in international accounting and finance from the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom. Managing Directors Of Nigerian Banks


Bukola Smith, FSDH Merchant Bank

In April 2021, Bukola Smith took over as Managing Director of FSDH Merchant Bank, a component of the FSDH group.

Smith has 28 years of expertise in the banking industry and is a member of several high-ranking financial institutes.

Prior to joining FSDH Merchant Bank in 2006, she worked for FCMB in a variety of capacities, including Executive Director, Business Development, where she was in charge of the bank’s 200 branches across Nigeria.

She was the driving force behind the FCMB Women in Business Desk (named SheVentures), which helps female entrepreneurs, as well as the FCMB Trustees and FCMB Custody, both of which were profitable in their first year.

Bukola Smith graduated from the University of Lagos with a bachelor’s degree in economics and an MBA from the Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester. Directors Of Nigerian Banks


Miriam Olusanya, GTCO

On July 14, 2021, Guaranty Trust Bank announced Miriam Olusanya’s appointment as Managing Director.

Olusanya has worked in Transaction Services, Treasury, Asset and Liability Management, and Risk Management for over 20 years.

Prior to her appointment, Olusanya worked at the bank as an Executive Director.

Miriam Olusanya has been with Guaranty Trust Bank since 1998, and she is in charge of the bank’s foreign currency balance sheet, asset and liability position, as well as money market, foreign currency, and bond trading.

Olusanya holds a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Ibadan (UI) and a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Liverpool (majoring in Finance and Accounting). Managing Directors Of Nigerian Banks


Notable Mention:


Amaka Onwughalu, Mainstreet Bank

In December 2014, Skye Bank appointed Mrs. Amaka Onwughalu as the interim Managing Director of Mainstreet Bank.

AMCON had handed over the management of Mainstreet Bank to Skye Bank.

Skye Bank said that Onwughalu would also oversee the affairs of the bank as the Managing Director for a period of six months.

Onwughalu has over 30 years of banking experience. She was appointed to the Skye Bank Board of Directors on November 30, 2008.

Amaka Onwughalu was appointed to the Board of Fidelity Bank as a Non-Executive Director, effective January 1, 2021.

She is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Blueshield Financial Services Limited.

Mary Akpobome, Enterprise Bank

Heritage Bank named its Executive Director of Retail Banking, Mary Akpobome, as the Acting Managing Director of Enterprise Bank on March 13, 2015.

Akpobome would serve as the acting CEO of Enterprise Bank throughout the transition period.

She was given the job to oversee activities during the final wave of activities on the timeline for integrating Enterprise Bank, which Heritage Bank had acquired, into the company’s systems and operations. Managing Directors Of Nigerian Banks

Mary Akpobome is a seasoned banker with more than two decades of expertise in the industry. She worked at Citizens Bank and Bank PHB during that period.


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