Early Life and Education
Herbert Onyewumbu Wigwe was born on August 15, 1966, in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers state, Nigeria.
Wigwe obtained his bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Nigeria. He won a British Council Scholarship to attend the University College of North Wales which is currently Bangor, where he earned a Master of Arts degree in banking and finance. He eventually obtained a master’s degree in Financial Economics from the University of London.
He graduated from the Harvard Business School’s Executive Management Program. He obtained an honorary doctorate from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
Wigwe was married to Chizoba Wigwe (née Nwuba), and they had four children.
Wigwe began his career with Coopers & Lybrand. In 2002, Wigwe and a business partner, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, acquired Access Bank. Within years, the bank grew from the 65th largest in Nigeria to becoming the 4th largest. He served as the company’s deputy managing director.
Wigwe also served as chairman of Access Bank Ghana Limited. He served on the board of Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company as well as the Friends Africa Advisory Board.
He had been a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN-FCA), a Fellow of The Institute of Credit Administration, also an Honorary Member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria.
Wigwe, Access Bank, and UNICEF collaborate to help children in need, orphans, and internally displaced people in northern Nigeria.
Wigwe also established the HOW Foundation, which is a charitable organization.
He was chosen co-chair of the Nigerian Business Coalition against AIDS (NiBUCCA), a private sector initiative that seeks to prevent HIV/AIDS in Nigeria and support those living with the disease.
Just a few months before his death, he stated that Wigwe University would open in the fall of 2024.
Wigwe, his spouse, and their son died on February 10, 2024, when their Eurocopter EC130 crashed in Nipton, California.
From January 2014 until his death, he served as CEO and Group Managing Director of Access Bank.
- Wigwe was selected 2016 Banker of the Year by The Sun and Vanguard newspapers, two of Nigeria’s largest newspapers.
- In 2016, the Boys’ Brigade (BB) appointed Herbert Wigwe as State Patron for the Lagos State Council in appreciation of “his exemplary role in society and contributions to youth development”.
- President Muhammadu Buhari bestowed the Nigerian national title of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) upon him in October 2022.