Ten years ago, you could hardly count up to five (5) women leading various banks in Nigeria, however, in recent times, analysts and keen observers of the Nigerian banking sector have unearthed a growing paradigm shift in the status quo.

As of today, findings by naijabusiness.com.ng revealed that as many as eight women are leading various Nigerian banks, with about four of them appointed in 2021 alone. Seven (7) out of these eight women lead the regular commercial and merchant banks in the country, while one is leading a non-interest bank at the moment. Recall that there are about 23 leading commercial banks in the country.

Naijabusiness.com.ng gathered that the recent feat was made possible through the introduction of the Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principles (NSBP) in 2021, which provided for gender diversity and inclusiveness at the top management levels. The policy seeks 40% women representation at the upper tier of the banking industry and is in line with Sustainable Development Goal Number 5, which aims to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

Meet the eight women making waves in the Nigerian banking sector.

  • Yemisi Edun- FCMB

Yemisi Edun is the first female Managing Director/ CEO of First City Monument Bank. She was initially appointed as an Acting MD in January this year, in a bid to replace the embattled Adam Nuru who proceeded on voluntary leave, following accusations of an extramarital affair with a former employee of the bank. Mrs. Edun’s appointment was subsequently confirmed last month.

Yemi as she is fondly called is an alumna of OAU and the University of Liverpool, UK, where she bagged a Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree in Chemistry and Accounting respectively. She is a veteran banker with over 30 years of experience. Until her appointment, Yemi served in different leadership positions in the bank including being the Chief Financial Officer of the Bank.

  • Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe (Fidelity Bank)

Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe’s appointment as M.D/CEO designate of Fidelity Bank was first announced in July 2020, following the decision of the erstwhile CEO, Emeka Okonkwo to retire from the board by 31st of December, 2020. The superwoman who became the first female MD of the tier-2 bank officially resumed her new position on January 2021.

Mrs. Oyeali-Ikpe is a graduate of Law from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and also holds a Master of Law (LLM) from Kings College in London. She also completed various professional certifications from prestigious schools like Harvard Business School, Wharton School, London Business School, etc.

Until her appointment as CEO, she was an Executive Director for Lagos and the southwest Directorate of the bank. Nneka has over 30 years of experience as a banker.

  • Miriam Olusanya – GTBank

Miriam Olusanya was recently announced as the first female M.D of GT Bank in its 31-year history. She succeeded the erstwhile MD, Segun Agbaje, who relinquished the position to head the newly reorganized board of the holding company-GTCO.

She joined the bank as an executive trainee in 1998 and has risen through the ranks to the present position she occupies. She has over two decades of experience and is an alumna of the prestigious University of Ibadan and University of Liverpool, where she obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy and an MBA in Finance and Accounting respectively.

  • Tomi Somefun- Unity Bank

Tomi Somefun began her journey as the MD/CEO of Unity Bank in August 2015 after a career stretching 26 years in the banking industry. She is an alumna of the Columbia Business School and several top-level schools outside the Nigerian shore, she is a member of many professional associations. Her experience spans corporate banking, retail, and commercial banking operations, etc.

Tomi holds a BE.D in English Education from the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University, and an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Business Administration (D.BA) from the Redeemer’s University, Nigeria.

  • Bukola Smith- FSDH Merchant Bank

Bukola Smith was appointed as the MD of FSDH Merchant Bank in April 2021. She has over 28 years of experience in the industry and boasts of impressive profile and fellowship/membership of high-ranking institutes.

Bukky as she is fondly called holds a Bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Lagos and an MBA from Manchester Business School.

  • Ireti Samuel Ogbu- Citibank

Ireti Samuel Ogbu was appointed as the first female MD of Citibank Nigeria Limited in September 2020. Prior to her appointment as MD/CEO, she had been on the Board of the Bank for about five years, serving as a Non-Executive Director.

She obtained a BA Hons Accounting and Finance from Middlesex University, UK, and has an MBA from the University of Bradford, UK.

  • Kafilat Araoye- Lotus Bank

Kafilat Araoye has over 25-year experience as a commercial banker, and currently leads Lotus Bank, a non-interest bank as the MD/CEO, a position she has held since 2020. She is skilled in human resources, business development, payments, international and domestic operations among others.
She has over 30 years of experience in banking, with the majority of these experiences coming from GTBank where she worked for 17 years.

  • Halima Buba- SunTrust

A champion of youth and women empowerment, Halima’s 20 years of experience in the banking industry saw her taking SunTrust’s top job in January 2020.

With a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree in business management from the University of Maiduguri, she is equally a member of several institutes and holds an MBA from the Borno-based educational institution. She is also a board member of other renowned institutions.