• Here are some of the coolest Bank CEO in Nigeria right now
  • The only woman among them is Oluwatomi Somefun, the MD/CEO of Unity Bank Plc.
  • Factors used include the brand perception of their banks and organisational growth.

Despite the low-key lives, innovative banking and silent achievers in the banking sector, some bank CEOs command respect, accolades and strength among their peers.

They are cool, calm and intelligent, they are the coolest bank CEOs of the moment. Their banking products are second to none and most often they shy away from the public glare.

Some of the criteria used in selecting these set of people include brand management and perception of their banks, fashion sense, coordination in public, organisational growth and how they have scaled through the various financial sector tsunamis.

Business Insider Sub-Saharan Africa by Pulse takes a delve into the lives and work of Nigerian Bank CEOs who are doing excellently well in the financial space.

They are:

10. Nnamdi Okonkwo

Nnamdi Okonkwo, MD/CEO, Fidelity Bank Plc

Nnamdi Okonkwo joined Fidelity Bank Plc.in 2012 as an Executive Director in charge of the Bank’s businesses in Southern Nigeria, a position he held until January 1, 2014, when he was appointed Managing Director/CEO of Fidelity Bank.

With 20 years of experience in banking, Okonkwo is one of the finest bankers in the country at the moment.

Groomed at two prominent top tier bank in Nigeria – Guaranty Trust Bank and United Bank For Africa, he has taken Fidelity Bank to an enviable height among the tier-2 lenders in Nigeria.

Both in branding and products, Okonkwo's innovations have earned Fidelity Bank respect and today ranked among leaders in the Nigerian banking industry with presence across cities in the country.

9. Oluwatomi Somefun

Oluwatomi Somefun, MD/CEO, Unity Bank

Within the last three years as the head of Unity Bank Plc, Somefun has proven her capabilities both analytical and negotiation skills in the Nigerian banking space. She is one of the leading female bankers in the country. Somefun has over 25 years experience in the financial industry spent most of her career life at Arthur Andersen (now KPMG) and United Bank for Africa Plc.

Despite troubles and risk-prone to the financial sector most especially with the economic recession that disrupted banking activities in 2017 and make many prone to bad debts, Somefun faced challenges of making Unity Bank Plc stand in the midst of turbulence.

In December 2018, she announced that new investors will be pumping some hard currencies in the operation of Unity Bank and make it stand tall again among other lenders. If this passes by, without hitches unlike other financial institutions that were unable to stand the tsunami of post-recession, the worth of Tomi Soremefun will not go unnoticed in the banking sector.

She is cool, elegant, beautiful, calm, hardworking as one of the foremost bankers that shy away from the media glare.

8. Walter Akpani

Walter AkpaniMD/CEO, Providus Bank

If you are in Lagos and looking for a top-notch banking hall with chilling hall devoid of queues and stress, then Akpani's initiative with Providus Bank is a very good example.

With less than four years into banking operations, Akpani-led Providus bank has swing fully into commercial banking operations headquarters at Victoria Island, Lagos.

Akpani a seasoned banker with over two decades cognate experience was groomed at the early days of Standard Trust Bank Plc, (now United Bank For Africa (UBA)) as a pioneer staff.

He is one of the coolest corporate guys who doesn't like media attention and will do anything to get public glare away from Providus bank as well as a show-off.

Since his appointment in 2013, Emuwa has turned the old bank with its symbolic elephant signature into a modern-day banking institution.

With over 25 years pan-African experience in banking, Emuma has deployed it to lift Union Bank's innovations to an enviable standard.

These innovations now have a place in heart of millennials when it comes to banking in Nigeria.

7. Ademola Adebise

Ademola Adebise MD/CEO, Wema Bank Plc

In a less than a year as the CEO of the indigenous bank in Nigeria, Ademola Adebise continued to set the pace for Wema Bank in products and digital banking service – ALAT.

As the then Deputy Managing Director, Adebise was among the brains behind Nigeria's first digital bank growing the Bank’s retail business.

With over 28 years' experience in the banking world, he is one of the coolest dudes in the financial sector having worked at Accenture prior to Wema bank.

6. Emeka Emuwa

Emeka EmuwaMD/CEO, Union Bank Plc

Since his appointment in 2013, Emuwa has turned the old bank with its symbolic elephant signature into a modern-day banking institution.

With over 25 years of pan-African experience in banking, Emuma has deployed it to lift Union Bank's innovations to an enviable standard.

These innovations now have a place in heart of millennials when it comes to banking in Nigeria.

5. Peter Amangbo

Peter AmangboMD/CEO, Zenith Bank Plc

Peter Amangbo is the face behind Zenith Bank Plc and the initiator and executor of the various activities in one of the largest bank in Nigeria.

With more than 24 year experience in banking activities in Zenith Bank, Amangbo understands the workings and professionalism of the leading Nigerian bank.

He has been part of the success story of the bank.

4. Adesola Kazeem Adeduntan

Adesola Kazeem AdeduntanMD/CEO, First Bank Plc

Usually kitted in a black or blue suit with a touch of blue portraying the logo of First Bank, Adesola Adeduntan is a respected banker among his peers in the banking hall.

He started his banking career at Afribank as a graduate trainee in Ibadan, Oyo state capital in 1994 and was appointed Managing Director of First Bank in 2016, two years after joining the bank in 2014.

Since 2014, Adeduntan combines his cognate years of experience at Arthur Andersen Nigeria, KPMG and Citibank to scale First Bank in the financial and internal control, enhancement and business performance as well as procurement functions.

He is also among the brains behind the growth sustainability and how the bank continues to maintain its leading role in Nigeria's financial sector.

3. Segun Agbaje

Segun AgbajeMD/CEO, GTBank Plc

When you talk about the elegant story of Gtbank, you talk about Segun Agbaje and how he has made the Orange inscription of the Bank in every household. It is arguable that there is no household in Nigeria where you will not see GTBank account holder.

Agbaje is one of the brightest Nigerian Banker and CEO making the wave with his innovative products and digital banking. The idea of 737 and the recently Habari, an app that's everything from lifestyle to banking, are second to none in Nigeria's banking sector.

The 54 years old banker has been the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank Plc since July 12, 2011.

Young, smart and intelligent, Segun needs no further introduction among his peers in the banking industry. He has positioned Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) as a major player in the financial services industry for its branding approach to innovation and digital products.

2. Abubakar Suleiman

Abubakar Suleiman MD/CEO, Sterling Bank Plc

Popularly known as Abu, the finest banker has been Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Sterling Bank Plc since April 01, 2018.

Within the shortest period, Abu has elevated the brand of the Sterling to an enviable height among its peers competing with top financial institutions in the country.

The University of Abuja graduate worked with colleagues from the evolvement of the investment banking institution (formerly NAL Merchant Bank) to a full-fledged commercial bank resulting into what is known as Sterling Bank today.

Sterling Bank is a result of NAL Bank’s merger with four other banks – Indo-Nigeria Merchant Bank, Magnum Trust Bank, NBM Bank and Trust Bank of Africa during the 2006 consolidation of the Nigerian banking industry.

In 2011, the Bank consummated a business combination with Equitorial Trust Bank and Abu was named the Chief Financial Officer in 2012, a member of the Board in 2014. Since then, he has been overseeing the Finance and Performance Management, Strategy and Innovation, Brand Management and Communication, as well as well the Human Resource Management Department of the bank.

His wealth of experience with KPMG, Citi Bank and MBC International Bank (now First Bank) is a test of strength in the banking industry.

1. Herbert Wigwe

Herbert WigweMD/CEO, Access Bank Plc

Herbert Wigwe is one of Nigeria's foremost corporate bankers and a silent achiever at that. His achievements have made Access Bank, one of the banks to reckon with in the Nigerian banking industry.

The 52 years old stylish banker started his career at the Coopers and Lybrand Associates and subsequently went to work at Guaranty Trust Bank Limited from where he moved to jointly acquired Access Bank with his partner, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede in 2002.

As a small commercial bank at the time, Access Bank has metamorphosed from being ranked 65 out of the 89 commercial banks in the country at the time to being among the top 5 financial institutions today.

In 2012, Herbert and his friend also pulling through an acquisition deal with Intercontinental Bank to further expand Access Bank.

His brilliance is current being out to work in the ongoing business combination agreement with Diamond Bank, a move that is expected to create a financial powerhouse in Africa.