Access Holdings Plc is gearing up to announce the appointment of a new Acting Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in the wake of the tragic passing of its Group CEO, Herbert Wigwe. The decision comes following a helicopter accident in California that claimed Wigwe’s life on Friday night.
The announcement of Wigwe’s passing was made by the group in a statement, expressing condolences and acknowledging his significant contributions to the company. The statement read, “In line with the Company’s policy, the Board will soon announce the appointment of an Acting Group Chief Executive Officer even as we remain confident that the Access Group will build further on Dr Wigwe’s legacy of growth and operational excellence.”
Access Holdings is a prominent conglomerate with a substantial asset base exceeding a total of N21.4 trillion, making it the largest of any financial institution in Nigeria. Additionally, the company boasts a market capitalization of over N800 billion and was recently listed as part of the SWOOTs.
Industry analysts emphasize the urgency of naming a successor given the size and influence of Access Holdings. Avoiding a leadership vacuum is paramount to ensure continuity and stability within the corporation.
The sudden loss of Herbert Wigwe has reverberated throughout the banking community, marking a profound moment of grief and reflection. Wigwe’s tenure at Access Bank, where he served as Managing Director and subsequently Group CEO of Access Holdings, was characterized by transformative leadership and strategic vision.
Joining Access Bank in 2002 as Deputy Managing Director, Wigwe played a pivotal role in the institution’s growth and expansion. His tenure as Managing Director, which began in 2014, saw Access Bank undergo significant expansion initiatives, extending its footprint beyond Nigeria’s borders.
Prior to his tragic passing, Wigwe held key positions, including Chairman of Access Bank (UK) Limited, and Non-Executive Director roles at Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company Plc and FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange.
The investigation into the helicopter accident is ongoing, led by the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Preliminary findings suggest adverse weather conditions, including rain and wintry mix, at the time of the crash.
Wigwe was accompanied by his wife, Chizoba, son, Chizi, and Abimbola Ogunbanjo, former Group Chairman of Nigerian Exchange Group Plc, aboard the Airbus EC130 Helicopter. Their untimely passing has left a void not only within Access Holdings but also in the broader financial landscape, both in Nigeria and beyond.