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IWD: 6 Trailblazing Women Bank Executives in Nigeria

On March 8, the world observes International Women’s Day to commemorate women’s social, economic, cultural, and political achievements.

The day also serves as a call to action for all groups, organizations, and countries around the world to work together to accelerate women’s equality.

IWD has been celebrated for almost a century, with the first meeting in 1911 attended by over a million people.

In honor of this day, we have featured six trailblazing Nigerian women who have altered the country’s financial sector. These women have served as CEOs or on the boards of these banks.

1. Yemisi Edun

With the ratification of her nomination by the Central Bank of Nigeria, Yemisi Edun became the first female Managing Director of First City Monument Bank Limited.

On July 13, 2021, she took over as MD. She graduated with honors from the University of Ife, Ile-Ife, with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a master’s degree in international accounting and finance from the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom.

She is a CFA® Charter holder and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria. She is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers, the Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, the Information Systems Audit and Control Association, and a Certified Information Systems Auditor.

She began her career in 1987 with Akintola Williams Deloitte (a member firm of Deloitte Touché Tohmatsu), focusing on Corporate Finance activities. She was also involved in bank and other financial institution audits.


2. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe

On January 1, 2021, Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe was appointed managing director/CEO of Fidelity Bank.

She is the bank’s first female president since its foundation in 1988.

She joined the bank in 2015 and is the former executive director for Lagos and the southwest directorate, where she oversaw the bank’s operations in the six states that comprise the bank’s southwest region.

She has a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, as well as a Master of Laws from King’s College, London.

She has completed executive education programs at Harvard Business School, Wharton School University of Pennsylvania, INSEAD School of Management, Chicago Booth School of Business, and London Business School.


3. Oluwatomi Ayodele Somefun

In 2015, Tomi Somefun, as he is affectionately known, was appointed Managing Director/CEO of Unity Bank PLC.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Obafemi Awolowo University, a PhD from Redeemer University, and is a graduate of Harvard Management School and the University of Columbia Business School in New York. She is a member of the Nigerian Institute of Chartered Accountants.

She began her career in financial services with Peat Marwick and Co. She then worked for Arthur Andersen, which is now known as KPMG, before becoming an executive director at Unity Bank plc.



4. Miriam Chidiebele Olusanya

Miriam Olusanya, as she is affectionately known, is the first female Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank.

She began in this position in July 2021. She holds a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Ibadan and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Liverpool.

Miriam began her career with GTB as an executive trainee in 1998. She was an executive director at the bank prior to her appointment as Managing Director.


5. Halima Buba

SunTrust Bank Nigeria’s MD/CEO is Halima Buba. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and an MBA from the University of Maiduguri.

She graduated from the senior management program at Lagos Business School.

She is an experienced banker who has worked at Allstates Trust Bank, Zenith Bank, Inland Bank Plc, Oceanic Bank Plc, and Ecobank Nigeria Ltd.

She is a Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants and a senior honorary member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers.

She is a Non-Executive Director on the boards of various institutions, including the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority and Anchoria Asset Management Company Ltd.


6. Bukola Smith 

In April 2021, Bukola Smith was appointed Managing Director of FSDH Merchant Bank.

She graduated with honors from the University of Lagos with a bachelor’s degree in Economics and an MBA from the Alliance Manchester Management School at the University of Manchester.

Smith has 28 years of industry expertise and a strong profile, as well as fellowship/membership in high-ranking financial institutes.

She was in charge of over 200 branches around the country, as well as the Public Sector, Business Banking, Agricultural, and Transaction Banking Divisions.

Under her leadership, the bank’s SME-focused team rose from fifth to first place in the industry in three years (KPMG Customer Service Report 2020).

She also developed the FCMB Women in Business Desk (branded SheVentures) to assist female entrepreneurs, as well as FCMB Trustees and FCMB Custody.

Written by PH

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