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Meet Nigeria’s female CEOs making waves in banking industry



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While the banking sector, like almost every other sector in Nigeria, is a male dominated field, it has witnessed some revival in terms of women holding key positions and successfully driving growth and development in their various positions.

We begin with the latest addition to this exclusive club, Miriam Olusanya, who on Wednesday was announced as the new Managing Director/CEO of Guaranty Trust (GT) Bank, the first woman to occupy the position since the bank was established in 1990.

She becomes the first ever female boss in the bank’s 31-year history.

Olusanya took over from Segun Agbaje, the erstwhile MD, who moved into a new role as the group CEO of the Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc.

Prior to her appointment, Olusanya was an executive director at GTBank, a position she occupied since 2018 after a successful period as the group treasurer/head, wholesale banking division. She joined the financial institution as an executive trainee and gradually rose through the ranks over the years.

Miriam Olusanya holds a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from the University of Ibadan and a Master of Business Administration (MBA), majoring in finance and accounting, from the University of Liverpool.


Yemisi Edun, FCMB

Earlier this week, First City Monument Bank (FCMB) announced Yemisi Edun as its MD/CEO.

She also holds the record of being the first female MD of FCMB, following the approval of her appointment by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Edun previously served as the acting managing director of the bank, a role she embraced after working as the bank’s executive director/chief financial officer.

Yemisi Edun holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Ife, Ile-Ife and a master’s degree in international accounting and finance from the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom.


She is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and a certified financial analyst, CFA® Charter holder. She is also an associate member of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers; an associate member of the Institute of Taxation of Nigeria; a member of Information Systems Audit and Control, U.S.A, and a certified information systems auditor.

Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, Fidelity Bank

Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe (Fidelity) was formerly Executive Director, Lagos and South West, overseeing the bank’s business in the six states that make up the South West region of the bank.

She is a consummate professional 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.

Onyeali-Ikpe holds Bachelor of Laws (LLB) and Master of Laws (LLM) degrees from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and Kings College, London, respectively. She has attended executive training programs at Harvard Business School, The Wharton School University of Pennsylvania, INSEAD School of Business, Chicago Booth School of Business, London Business School and IMD amongst others.

Halima Buba, SunTrust Bank

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.

Ireti Samuel- Ogbu, CitiBank



Ireti Samuel-Ogbu assumed office as the MD/CEO of Citibank Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of Citigroup, in September 2020. She is the first woman appointed to the lender’s top post in Nigeria after 36 years of operating in the country.

Prior to assuming office in Nigeria, she was the head of payments and receivables, treasury and trade solutions (TTS) for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) at Citi’s Institutional Clients Group (ICG) based in London, UK.

In the last 32 years, Samuel-Ogbu has held various roles across Citi’s businesses in the UK, Nigeria and South Africa, having worked in each of these countries twice. Previous roles have included relationship management with Global Subsidiaries Group and the Public Sector Banking Team, as well as TTS sales, corporate finance and leading Citi’s TTS business in two of the largest markets in Africa.

Tomi Somefun, Unity Bank

In August 2015, Tomi Somefun was appointed as MD/CEO of Unity Bank Plc. She is a career professional with over 35 years post qualification experience, 26 of which were in the banking sector spanning key segments such as treasury & investment banking, corporate banking, retail and commercial banking operations.

Prior to her appointment as MD; she served as the executive director overseeing the Lagos and south-west business directorates, the financial institution division and treasury department of the bank.

She is an alumnus of the Columbia Business School, United States of America, and INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France, and holds a certificate of management excellence from Harvard Business School (HBS).

Kafilat Araoye, Lotus Bank

Kafilat Araoye is the managing director of Lotus Bank, a financial institution which was granted a non-interest banking licence by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in June 2021.

The bank describes itself as a non-interest Nigerian bank deeply rooted in ethical banking and committed to deepening financial inclusion and broadening the array of non-interest products available to the banked, unbanked, and under-banked population.

With over 25 years commercial banking experience, Araoye has expertise in virtually all areas of core banking, with emphasis on international and domestic operations, payments, general management, business development, risk management, human resources and strategy.