New Telegraph

Access Holdings confirms Wigwe’s passing, set to name acting CEO

The Board of Directors of Access Holdings Plc. yesterday, announced the passing of the company’s founding Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) and former Group Managing Director of its flagship subsidiary, Access Bank Plc., Herbert Wigwe. Wigwe, his wife and son were among the casualties in a helicopter accident that occurred near the Nevada-California border. The Eurocopter EC 130, carrying Wigwe and five others, crashed on Friday night on its way to Las Vegas. A statement released yesterday by the company’s secretary, Sunday Ekwochi, Access Holdings said: “The entire Access Family mourns the loss of Herbert, Doreen, and Chizi. We extend our deep and sincere sympathies to his family and loved ones. “Dr. Wigwe was a key driving force and a larger-than-life personality who brought his remarkable passion, energy, and experience to the transformation of the Access franchise since joining the Bank in 2002.”

Reflecting on Mr Wigwe’s legacy, Chairman of Access Holdings, Abubakar Jimoh, said: “The Access Family has suffered a major loss with the passing of Dr Wigwe, who was a great friend and fine gentleman. “He had a prodigious intellect, admirable personal qualities, and vast business experience, which he brought to bear on the Access Family, and for which we owe him a debt of gratitude.

“In line with the Company’s policy, the Board will soon announce the appointment of an Acting Group Chief Executive Officer. However, we remain confident that the Access Group will build further on Dr Wigwe’s legacy of growth and operational excellence.” Access Bank earlier on Sunday said it was cooperating with US authorities who are investigating the fatal helicopter crash that led to the death of Wigwe and others. Abimbola Ogunbanjo, former group chairman of Nigerian Exchange Group Plc. (NGX Group), was also one of the passengers on the ill-fated flight. The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said it currently has a meteorologist working on its team to analyse and get the exact weather conditions at the time of the crash.

For eight years until May 2022, Wigwe led Access Bank Plc. as its Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer through an extraordinary growth period. The Bank operates through a network of more than 600 branches and service outlets, spanning three continents, 18 countries, and 50+ million customers managed by over 28,000 employees. Access Bank, the Corporation’s banking business, is one of Africa’s largest retail banks by customer base and total assets. Some of the accolades accorded him, include Banker of the Year, 2020 by Leadership Awards; African Banker of the Year, 2021 by African Banker Award; and Best Banking CEO, 2021 by Global Brands Magazine Awards.

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