Herbert Wigwe Biography – Age, Career, Wigwe University, Family, How He D!ed and Net Worth
Herbert Onyewumbu Wigwe CFR was a Nigerian banker and entrepreneur. He was the CEO of Access Holdings Plc, traded as Access Corporation until his death. Herbert was the Group Managing Director/CEO of Access Bank plc, one of Nigeria’s top five banking institutions, after succeeding his business partner, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede in January 2014 till April 2022
Wigwe’s academic journey was as impressive as his professional ascent. With a degree in accountancy from the University of Nigeria and further education in Banking and Finance, Financial Economics, and an executive program from Harvard Business School, he was well-equipped for the challenges ahead.
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His career began at Coopers & Lybrand, Lagos, before moving to GTBank, where he spent over a decade honing his skills in corporate and institutional banking. The turning point came in 2002 when he and Aig-Imoukhuede took a bold step by investing in Access Bank, then a small player in Nigeria’s banking industry.
Under Wigwe’s visionary leadership, Access Bank transformed into a powerhouse, now serving over 6.5 million account holders and ranking among the top 500 global banks. His roles extended beyond banking, as he served in various capacities, including as the Chairman of Access Bank Ghana Limited and a member of several prestigious boards.
Wigwe, Access Bank and UNICEF have a collaboration in place to offer support to vulnerable children, orphans and internationally displaced persons in the northern part of Nigeria. To raise awareness for this purpose, the bank organizes the annual high-profile Access Bank/UNICEF Charity Shield Polo tournament.
In February 2017, he was named co-chair of Nigerian Business Coalition against AIDS (NiBUCCA), a private sector initiative to help eradicate HIV/AIDS in Nigeria and support people living with the condition.
The dream of Wigwe university
Perhaps Wigwe’s most ambitious project was the establishment of Wigwe University. Launched with a $500 million investment, the university aimed to revolutionise higher education in Nigeria and West Africa. With a focus on management, science, engineering, and the arts, Wigwe University was set to provide world-class education, blending traditional methods with innovative technology.
The university, situated in Isiokpo, Port Harcourt, was approved by the National Universities Commission in June 2023. Its curriculum was designed to address critical sectors such as finance and technology, while also nurturing leadership and entrepreneurial skills.
Wigwe’s vision was clear: to create an institution that could compete globally, yet remain distinctly African. He planned to recruit top teaching talents from around the world, focusing on making education a tool for shaping fearless, innovative leaders.
Herbert Wigwe was planning to build a world class university in Nigeria 💔
— Akpraise (@AkpraiseMedia) February 10, 2024
In January 2015, Nigerian newspaper The Punch described him as “one of Nigeria’s stylish top executives”. He was married to Chizoba Wigwe (née Nwuba) and had 4 children: Chizi, Tochi, Hannah and David. He hailed from Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State, but lived and worked in Lagos.
How He Died
Herbert Wigwe was confirmed dead alongside five other people after their helicopter crashed around the California-Nevada border in the United States of America, on February 10.
The five others included his wife, his son, Group Chairman of Nigerian Exchange Group Plc – Abimbola Ogunbanjo and the pilots.
At the time of his death, Herbert Wigwe was known to be one of the richest men in Nigeria. His estimated net worth was around $680 million