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Meet 7 women championing transformation in Nigeria’s banking sector



Banking, women in banking, Banks MDs

Miriam Olusanya has just shattered the ceiling, and found herself at top position in the banking sector by becoming the latest woman to emerge as the managing director and chief executive officer of a commercial bank in Nigeria.

Techeconomy reported Olusanya’s appointment hours after the board of directors’ approval which comes on the heels of FCMB Group Plc’s appointment of Yemisi Edun as the managing director of First City Monument Bank Limited.

Suffice to say that the female managers in the banking sector have cast the moment as the women embodied the popular quote, “What a man can do, a woman can do, even better.”

In this year 2021 alone, four women have been appointed as managing directors and CEOs of leading banks in Nigeria.

And this medium being recognised among the top leading news platforms not only in Nigeria but all over the world has tested and trusted pieces of information about the seven women piloting the affairs of their banks.

Below, however, are the seven women leading the banking sector as managing directors below:

1. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe

Fidelity Bank, Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe

Mrs. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, MD/CEO of Fidelity Bank

Nneka is a Nigerian business executive and banker. She is the first female Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Fidelity Bank PLC. She assumed the office as director

Onyeali-Ikpe was born in Awka, Anambra State, in Eastern Nigeria. She also lived in Owerri, Imo State, where she studied at the Federal Government Girls’ College.

The MD has a law degree from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. She also has a master’s degree in Law from King’s College London, United Kingdom (UK).

She started her banking career as a legal officer with the defunct African Continental Bank in 1990. She then joined the First African Trust Bank as a treasury officer. She later joined Zenith Bank and Standard Chartered Bank respectively.

In 2011, she joined Enterprise Bank as an executive director of the bank’s operations in Lagos and other locations in the South-Western region in Nigeria.

Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe joined the commercial bank Fidelity as an executive director in January, 2015. Fidelity Bank announced Onyeali-Ikpe as its managing director in December 2020.

2. Miriam Olusanya

Banking, GTBank

New managing director of GTBank, Miriam Olusanya,

Miriam has just been appointed the Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Guaranty Trust Bank; the first woman to ever hold the position. She assumed this position in July 2021.

Olusanya is a graduate of Pharmacy from the University of Ibadan and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Liverpool.


The CEO is said to have over 23 years of banking experience across various units, including transaction services, asset and liability management, financial markets, corporate finance and investor relations.

She joined GTbank as an executive trainee and rose to the position of general manager until she was appointed executive director in 2018.

3. Yemisi Edun


Yemisi Edun, MD/CEO of FCMB 

Yemisi is the first female Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of First City Monument Bank (FCMB). In July 2021, she assumed the position.

Edun obtained a degree in Chemistry from the University of Ile-Ife and a Masters degree in International Accounting and Finance, from the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom.

The CEO is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and a CFA charter holder.

She is also an associate member of the of Chartered Institute of Stock brokers; An Associate Member of the Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, A member of Information Systems Audit and Control.

Yemisi was Senior Manager for Akintola Williams & Co. Yemisi Edun joined First City Monument Bank in 2000. She served as Vice President and Senior Vice President for First City Monument Bank.

4. Oluwatomi Somefun

Unity Bank

 Mrs. Tomi Somefun, MD/CEO, Unity Bank Plc

Tomi is currently served as Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Unity Bank Plc.

She obtained a B.Ed. in English Language in 1981 from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife in Osun state and an alumnus of Harvard Business school and University of Columbia Business School, New York.[3]

Somefun began her professional career with Peat Marwick and Co. and later moved to Arthur Andersen (now KPMG) before becoming an executive director at Unity Bank plc.

5. Halima Buba

Halima Buba, SunTrust Bank

Halima Buba

In January 2020, Halima Buba was appointed as the new managing director/chief executive officer of SunTrust Bank.

She is a seasoned banker with over 20 years cognate experience obtained from working in Allstates Trust Bank, Zenith Bank, Inland Bank Plc, Oceanic Bank Plc and Ecobank Nigeria Limited.

She holds a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree in business management from the University of Maiduguri and an MBA from the same university.


Buba is an alumnus of the Lagos Business School senior management programme. She is a senior honorary member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers and a fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants.

She sits on the board of several reputable Institutions, including those of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) as a non-executive director and Anchoria Asset Management Company Limited.

6. Adebimpe Olambiwonnu 

Banking, Sterling Bank pls

Adebimpe Olambiwonnu

Adebimpe is the Group Head, Finance & Performance Management/ Financial Controller, Sterling Bank

Bimpe began her career at Nigeria’s premier merchant bank, NAL Bank which merged with four other banks to form Sterling Bank.

Her banking experience covers credit & marketing and most aspects of banking operations prior to her joining the finance team of the Bank. She is an integral member of the finance group and has helped to develop processes for monitoring Sterling Bank’s long-term and short-term financial results.

Bimpe’s team ensures that the management, process and monitoring aspects of the strategy execution are in place. She provides direction for the financial planning, reporting and finance operations teams.

She is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (FCA), associate member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation  and Certified Pension Institute of Nigeria as well as an honorary member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (HCIB).

She is also an alumni of Wharton Business School, Philadelphia, USA.

7. Dr. (Mrs.) Ajoritsedere Awosika, MFR

Dr Ajoritsedere Awosika

Dr Ajoritsedere Awosika

Dr. Awosika is an accomplished administrator with over three decades’ experience in public sector governance.

She was at various times, the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministries of Internal Affairs, Science & Technology and Power. She is a Fellow of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria and the West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacy. She holds a Doctorate degree in Pharmaceutical Technology from the University of Bradford, United Kingdom.

She was appointed to the Board of Access Bank in April 2013 and served as the Vice-Chairman of the Board Audit Committee and Chairman of the Board Credit and Finance Committee.

Dr. Awosika sits on the boards of Capital Express Assurance Ltd and Josephine Consulting Limited.


She became the Chairman of the Board on January 8, 2020 following the retirement of Mrs. Mosun Belo-Olusoga.


(Updated: This piece has been updated to correct error with regards nominees who have since left the position we wrongly mentioned earlier)

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