CEOs & MDs: Meet the women leading Nigerian banks as CBN’s makes new appointment

Jan 21, 2024 | Entertainment, News


  • More women are taking up leadership roles in the financial industry, and commercial banks are no exception
  • The turning point started in 2021, and since then, the floodgates for women leading bank boardrooms have opened
  • Today, Fidelity, Union Bank, Citi Bank, and FCMB, among others, are led by brilliant Nigerian women journalist Dave Ibemere has over a decade of experience covering Tech, Energy, Stocks, Investments, and the Economy.

Olayemi Cardoso, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on January 11, 2024, announced the appointment of new executives to oversee Union, Keystone, and Polaris Banks.

One of the appointments is Yetunde Oni as the new managing director/CEO of Union Bank of Nigeria.

Oni’s appointment has increased the number of women who sit as managing directors/chief executive officers of different banks in Nigeria.

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She joins the distinguished group of women trailblazers in the banking industry, which includes Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, MD/CEO of Fidelity Bank; Tomi Somefun, Managing Director/CEO of Unity Bank; Miriam Olusanya, MD of Guaranty Trust Bank Limited;

Others are Ireti Samuel-Ogbu, CEO and Citi Country Officer for Nigeria and Ghana, and Yemisi Edun, MD of First City Monument Bank (FCMB).

Profile of the female MDs/CEOs of the six major banks

Nigerian banks
Ireti Samuel-Ogbu, Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, Yemisi Edun
Source: Facebook

Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe

On January 1, 2021, Onyeali-Ikpe took on the position of Managing Director/CEO at Fidelity Bank, transitioning from her previous role as the Executive Director for Lagos and South West.

She holds a Bachelor of Laws and Master of Laws degrees from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and Kings College, London.

Onyeali-Ikpe has participated in executive training programs at renowned institutions, including Harvard Business School, The Wharton School University of Pennsylvania, INSEAD School of Business, Chicago Booth School of Business, and London Business School.

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Ireti Samuel-Ogbu – Citibank Nigeria

In September 2020, Ireti Samuel-Ogbu assumed the role of MD/CEO at CitiBank, marking her as the first female CEO of the bank in Nigeria.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting and Finance from Middlesex University, UK, and an MBA from the University of Bradford, UK.

Yemisi Edun of FCMB

Edun assumed the position of Managing Director at FCMB on May 1, 2021, two decades after commencing her journey with the bank in 2000 as the divisional head of Internal Audit and Control. Later, she took on the responsibility of chief financial officer.

Edun holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Ife and a master’s degree in International Accounting and Finance from the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom.

Nigerian bankers
Tomi Somefun and Miriam Olusanya
Source: Facebook

Tomi Somefun of Unity Bank

Somefun was appointed the managing director/CEO of Unity Bank in August 2015 after proving her leadership qualities as executive director overseeing the Lagos and South-West Business directorates, the financial institution division and the bank’s treasury department.

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She graduated from Obafemi Awolowo University (formerly University of Ife) in 1981 with a Bachelor of Education in English Language.

Somefun also has an honorary Doctor of Business Administration degree from the Redeemer’s University.

Miriam Olusanya of Guaranty Trust Bank Limited

In 2021, Olusanya assumed the role of Managing Director at GTBank, bringing her over two decades of experience in various aspects of banking, including transaction services, treasury, assets and liability management, corporate finance, and wholesale banking.

Joining GTB as an executive trainee in 1998, Olusanya has steadily climbed the organisational ladder, holding strategic leadership positions.

She has served as the Group Treasurer and Head of Wholesale Banking at GTBank and as a non-executive director on the Board of Guaranty Trust Bank (Gambia) Limited.

Olusanya is a graduate of the University of Ibadan and the University of Liverpool, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy and an MBA in Finance and Accounting, respectively.

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Nigerian female bankers
Kafilat Araoye, Bukola Smith, Yetunde Oni
Source: Facebook

Kafilat Araoye – Lotus Bank

In 2018, Kafilat assumed the role of MD Designate for LOTUS Bank, a non-Interest Nigerian Bank.

She is widely recognised as an accomplished banker, a champion in advocating for sustainable financial practices, and an active supporter of investment in community development projects.

Kafilat holds a first degree in History from the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University, and an M.Sc. in Industrial Relations & Personnel Management from the University of Lagos.

Bukola Smith – FSDH Merchant Bank

Bukola is the managing director of First Securities Discount House Limited(FSDH) merchant bank, a role she assumed in April 2021.

She graduated with a B.Sc. in Economics from the University of Lagos and completed her MBA at Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, United Kingdom.

A very sound investment banker, Bukola has played a pivotal role in driving the growth and success of FSDH.

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Yetunde Oni – Union Bank

The latest entrant is Yetunde, the first female MD/CEO of Union Bank.

She holds a degree in economics from the University of Ibadan, an executive training degree from Oxford University, and an MBA in business administration from Bangor University.

Elumelu’s wife buys more Transcorp shares

In a similar report, Awele Elumelu, the wife of Tony Elumelu, has bought N6 billion shares in Transcorp.

The investment makes her the third-largest shareholder, which helps the family have a firm grip on the company.

Transcorp Group is one of Nigeria’s leading Conglomerates with investments in the hospitality, power, and oil & gas sectors.



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