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Six trail-blazing women bank chiefs in Nigeria

International Women’s Day, celebrated every March 8, has been globally set aside to commemorate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.

The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality by all groups, organisations and countries across the world.

IWD started over a century, with the first gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people.

In commemoration of this day, The PUNCH has highlighted six trailblazing Nigerian women who have created a paradigm shift in the country’s banking sector. These women have either served as CEOs or board members of those banks.

Yemisi Edun

Yemisi Edun is the first female Managing Director of First City Monument Bank Limited following the approval of her appointment by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

She became the MD on July 13, 2021. She holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from then University of Ife, Ile-Ife and a master’s degree in international accounting and finance from the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom.

She is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and a CFA Charter holder. She is also an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers; an Associate Member of the Institute of Taxation of Nigeria; a Member of Information Systems Audit and Control, U.S.A; and a Certified Information Systems Auditor.

She began her career with Akintola Williams Deloitte (member firm of Deloitte Touché Tohmatsu) in 1987, with main focus on Corporate Finance activities. She was also involved in audits of Banks and Other Financial Institutions.

Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe

Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe became the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank on January 1, 2021.

She is the first female to occupy the position since the bank’s inception in 1988.

She joined the bank in 2015 and is the former executive director for Lagos and the southwest directorate, overseeing the bank’s business in the six states that make up the southwest region of the bank.

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She holds a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and a Master of Laws degree from King’s College, London.

She has attended executive training programmes at global institutions including Harvard Business School, Wharton School University of Pennsylvania, INSEAD School of Business, Chicago Booth School of Business and London Business School.

Oluwatomi Ayodele Somefun

Tomi Somefun as fondly called became the Managing Director/CEO of Unity Bank PLC in 2015.

She is a graduate of English Language from Obafemi Awolowo University and had her PhD at Redeemer University and also an alumnus of Harvard Business school and University of Columbia Business School, New York. She is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria.

She started her career in the financial service industry with Peat Marwick and Co. After that, she moved to Arthur Andersen – now KPMG before becoming an executive director at Unity Bank plc.

Miriam Chidiebele-Olusanya

Miriam Olusanya as fondly called is the Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank, the first woman to ever hold the position.

She assumed this position in July 2021. She is a graduate of Pharmacy from the University of Ibadan and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Liverpool.

Miriam joined GTB as an executive trainee in 1998. Until her appointment as Managing director, she was an executive director at the bank.

Halima Buba

Halima Buba is the MD/CEO of SunTrust Bank. Nigeria. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from the University of Maiduguri, as well as an MBA from the same university.

She is an alumnus of the Lagos Business School’s senior management programme.

She is a seasoned banker with over 22 years of cognate experience obtained from working in Allstates Trust Bank, Zenith Bank, Inland Bank Plc, Oceanic Bank Plc and Ecobank Nigeria Limited.

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

She is a member of the board of several institutions, including those of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority as a Non-Executive Director and Anchoria Asset Management Company Limited.

Bukola Smith

Bukola Smith became the Managing Director of FSDH Merchant Bank in April 2021.

She has a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Lagos and later bagged an MBA from the Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester.

Smith has 28 years of experience in the industry and boasts an impressive profile and fellowship/membership of high-ranking institutes in the financial sector.

She was responsible for the banks with over 200 branches across the country, Public Sector, Business Banking, Agriculture and Transaction Banking Divisions.

Under her, the bank’s SME-focused team in 3 years moved from 5th position in the industry to 1st position in 2019 (KPMG Customer Service Report 2020).

This was first published in PUNCH

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