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Making HERstory: The 8 women leading Nigeria’s top banks

Meet Nigeria’s very own Ocean’s 8 but instead of robbing banks, they are leading them! Nigeria’s banking sector seems to be spearheading diversity and gender equality in the corporate world. Some of the women on this list are the first women since their institutes’ inception to have women in top positions! See them below:

Ireti Samuel-Ogbu – Citi Bank Nigeria CEO

Ireti Samuel-Ogbu was appointed CEO of Citi Bank Nigeria back in September of 2020. She boasts of a bachelors in Accounting and Finance from Middlesex University and a MBA from the University of Bradford both of which are situated in the UK. Ireti is the first Nigerian female country head in the 36 years Citi Bank has been situated in Nigeria.


Miriam Chidiebele Olusanya – MD of Guarantee Trust Bank (GTBank)

Miriam Chidiebele Olusanya is also the first female MD of her institution, GTBank/Guarantee Trust Holding Company PLC (GTCO) in its 30-year existence. She joined the bank initially as a trainee in 1998 and worked her way up the ranks. Miriam holds a bachelors in Pharmacy from the University of Ibadan and a MBA in Finance and Accounting from the University of Liverpool.


Yemisi Edun – MD/CEO of First City Monument Bank

Yemisi holds a degree in Chemistry from the University of Ife and a Master’s degree in International Accounting and Finance from the University of Liverpool. She is the first female MD of her institution, First City Monument Bank. She joined FCMB in the year 2000 as Divisional Head of Internal Audit and Control before assuming the role of CFO and eventually becoming MD.


Halima Buba – MD/CEO SunTrust Bank

Halima holds a bachelor’s degree and MBA in Business Management from the University of Maiduguri. She has over 20 years of experience working in institutions such as: Zenith Bank, Allstates Trust Bank, Inland Bank Plc, Oceanic Bank and Ecobank Nigeria Limited. 

Kalifat Araoye – MD/CEO Lotus Ban

Kafilat holds a masters degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the University of Lagos and a bachelors in History from Obafemi Awolowo University. She has over 30 years of banking experience having worked for the likes of GTBank as General Manager and Human Resources Group Head. She has dabbled in all facets of the banking sector such as International and Domestic Operations, General Management, Business Development and Risk Management.


Bukola Smith – MD/CEO First Securities Discount House Limited (FSDH) Merchant

Bukola holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Lagos and a MBA from Alliance Manchester Business School. She has over 28 years of experience. She has worked under FCMB as the Group Head of Treasury and Financial Institutions, Division Head for Investment Banking and Finance Markets, Director of Project and Structured Finance, Divisional Head for Group Internal Audit, Head of Lagos Region and Executive Director for Business Development.


Tomi Somefun – MD/CEO Unity Bank Pl

Tomi Somefun has a career professional of 35 years, 26 of which are in the banking sector. She has won various accolades for her work such as : Top 25 CEOs Next Bulls Award in recognition of stellar performance on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) – 2019, 2018 Best Participating Bank in the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Development Finance activities award, and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) 2018 sustainable banking award for ‘Sustainable Transaction of the Year in Agriculture’. In 2016, she was named as one of the top 25 most distinguished Chief Executive Officers of quoted Nigerian companies for the 2015 financial year. She is also the first female MD of any commercial bank in Nigeria.


Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe – MD/CEO Fidelity Bank

She was formerly Executive Director, Lagos and South West, overseeing the bank’s business in the six different states. She has a professional career of over 30 years experience across various banks including Standard Chartered Bank Plc, Zenith Bank Plc and Citizens International Bank Limited, where she held several management positions in Legal, Treasury, Investment Banking, Retail/Commercial Banking, Corporate Banking. Mrs. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe assumed office as Managing Director/CEO, Fidelity Bank on January 1, 2021.




Written by : Nii Nai Fifi Ako-Nai

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