Activities at the headquarters of Access Holdings continued as usual on Monday, the first working day after the death of its Group Chief Executive, Herbert Wigwe, in a plane crash in the United States of America.
A visit by our correspondent showed that operations ran as usual and a condolence register had been opened at the main entrance of the Access Towers, which was being signed by some people when The PUNCH visited.
A member of staff, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that everything was running as usual except that “everywhere is extra quiet”.
Wigwe died in a chopper crash in the United States on Friday night.
Wigwe’s wife, Doreen; son, Chizi; and a former Group Chairman of Nigerian Exchange Group, Abimbola Ogunbanjo, also lost their lives in the helicopter crash.
The deceased and his friend, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhede bought Access Bank in 2002 when it was struggling and grew it to become one of the top lenders in Africa.
Under his leadership as group chief executive, Access Bank transitioned into a holding company with the bank as its flagship subsidiary. It also expanded into other countries and business segments.
During the bullish run of the market in January, Access Holdings was one of the financial institutions that crossed N1tn in market capitalisation, although it had dropped below that milestone following pull pullback on the local bourse.
In January, Access Holdings completed the acquisition of an insurance brokerage firm, Megatech Insurance Brokers Ltd and announced the receipt of regulatory approval to set up a consumer lending subsidiary, named Oxygen X Finance Company Limited.
At the time that they became owners of Access Bank, both Wigwe and Aig-Imoukhede were in their 30s with years of senior management banking experience at GTB under their belt.
Wigwe rose to become an executive director in charge of institutional banking at GTB.
Before then, he was a management consultant for Coopers & Lybrand before qualifying as a chartered accountant.
Meanwhile, Access Holdings has announced that an acting GCEO would be appointed soon.
A statement from its board of directors filed with the Nigerian Exchange Limited said, “In line with the company’s policy, the board will soon announce the appointment of an acting group chief executive officer even as we remain confident that the Access Group will build further on Dr Wigwe’s legacy of growth and operational excellence.”