Access Corporation Shares Slump Over Tragic Death of CEO Herbert Wigwe

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The financial markets were shaken as the share price of Access Corporation, the parent company of Nigeria’s largest bank, plummeted on Monday, the first trading day following the tragic passing of co-founder and CEO, Herbert Wigwe.

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Access Bank’s shares took a significant hit, dropping by 6.26 percent to N23.20 by 2:30 pm Lagos time, marking the sharpest decline since January 30th. The downturn was not limited to Access Corporation, with GTCO and United Bank for Africa also experiencing losses of 0.37 percent and 1.18 percent, respectively. NGX data revealed that the banking index, tracking the share price movements of listed Nigerian banks, slid by 0.88 percent.

The sudden loss of Wigwe, along with his wife and son in a helicopter crash in California, United States, has left a void in the leadership of the bank. However, investors are cautiously optimistic, relying on the strategic direction set forth by Wigwe to guide Access Bank through this challenging period.

Samuel Sule, CEO of Renaissance Capital Africa, emphasized that despite the magnitude of the loss, investors find reassurance in the bank’s clear strategy and well-defined succession plan.

Wigwe’s legacy is deeply intertwined with Access Bank’s journey, which he co-founded with Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede in their mid-30s. Their partnership saw the transformation of Access Bank from a modest institution to a powerhouse in the Nigerian banking sector, culminating in the acquisition of Intercontinental Bank in 2011 and a merger with Diamond Bank in December 2018.

Mustapha Chike-Obi, former CEO of AMCON and chairman of Fidelity Bank, lauded Wigwe’s boldness and vision, debunking rumors surrounding the acquisition of Intercontinental Bank and highlighting Wigwe’s strategic foresight in navigating challenging scenarios.

Despite the setback in the stock market, Access Bank’s bonds saw an increase in yield, indicating continued investor confidence in the bank’s long-term prospects. As the company prepares to appoint an acting CEO, industry insiders speculate on potential candidates, with Roosevelt Ogbonna, head of the banking subsidiary, emerging as a frontrunner.

Yinka Odeleye, a private equity investor and former head of corporate finance at Citi Nigeria, expressed confidence in Access Bank’s leadership continuity, citing the bank’s robust training and empowerment programs under Wigwe’s stewardship.

Wigwe’s contributions extended beyond banking, with endeavors such as sponsoring the Lagos Marathon and spearheading initiatives in education and mentorship. His legacy as a visionary leader and philanthropist will continue to inspire future generations.

Herbert Wigwe’s impact on Access Bank and the Nigerian financial landscape will be remembered, with his vision for a brighter future serving as a guiding light for the industry.

Charles Akpeji
Charles Akpejihttps://naija247news.com
Charles Akpeji has over 20 years experience in journalism and he is Naija247news Taraba Correspondent. He lives and works from Jalingo, the state capital.

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