Women On The Rise: 8 Female CEOs leading Nigerian Banks


Nigeria’s banking sector is witnessing a rise in the appointment of female chief executive officers. On Wednesday 14th of July, Guaranty Trust (GT) Bank announced the appointment of Miriam Olusanya as its Managing Director/CEO, the first woman to occupy the position since the bank was established in 1990.

First City Monument Bank (FCMB) recently announced Yemisi Edun as its MD/CEO. On the 1st of January 2021, Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe assumed office as the MD/CEO of Fidelity Bank Plc.

Other female CEOs leading Nigerian banks includes Tomi Somefun (Unity Bank), Bukola Smith (FSDH Merchant Bank), Ireti Samuel-Ogbu (Citibank Nigeria), Halima Buba (SunTrust Bank), and Kafilat Araoye (Lotus Bank).


Miriam Olusanya
Miriam Olusanya

Miriam Olusanya is the Managing Director/CEO of Guaranty Trust (GT) Bank. She has over 23 years banking experience that cuts across Transaction Services, Asset and Liability Management, Financial Markets, Investment Banking and Investor Relations.

She holds a Bachelor of Pharmacy (B. Pharm) degree from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria and a Master of Business Administration (Finance and Accounting) from the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom. She has also attended several executive management and banking specific developmental programs in leading educational institutions around the world.

Miriam served as a Non-Executive Director on the Board of Guaranty Trust Bank (Gambia) Limited. She is also a member of the Financial Markets Sub-Committee of the Bankers’ Committee, the primary interactive policy platform made up of the Central Bank of Nigeria and banks. She joined the Bank as an Executive Trainee in 1998 and rose through the ranks until her appointment as Executive Director in 2018.

Until her appointment as MD/CEO, she was the Group Treasurer and Head, Wholesale Banking Division, responsible for balance sheet and financial markets activities of the Bank and its African subsidiaries, Corporate Finance as well as Investor Relations.


Yemisi Edun
Yemisi Edun

Yemisi Edun is the Managing Director of FCMB. She began her career with Akintola Williams Deloitte (member firm of Deloitte Touché Tohmatsu) in 1987, with the main focus on Corporate Finance activities. She was also involved in audits of Banks and Other Financial Institutions.

She joined FCMB in 2000 as Divisional Head of Internal Audit and Control before assuming the role of Chief Financial Officer of the Bank.

She is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and a 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.

Yemisi 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.


Tomi Somefun
Tomi Somefun

Tomi Somefun is the Managing Director/CEO of Unity Bank plc. Prior to her appointment as MD/CEO in August 2015, Tomi Somefun 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 a Member of the Board Finance & General Purpose Committee, Board Risk Management Committee, Board Credit Committee, amongst others.

She is a career professional with 35 years post qualification experience, over 26 of which were in the banking sector, spanning key segments including Treasury & Investment Banking, Corporate Banking, Retail, and Commercial Banking Operations.

Tomi had a distinguished career with UBA group where she led 2 major subsidiaries of UBA as MD/CEO including a start-up company, UBA Pensions Custodian where she was the pioneer Managing Director. Prior to UBA, Tomi worked with two leading consulting firms: KPMG and Arthur Andersen (now KPMG).

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).

Halima Buba
Halima Buba

Halima Buba is the Managing Director/CEO of SunTrust Bank. She is a seasoned Banker with over 20 years of 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.

Halima 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.

Halima is a Champion of youth and women empowerment, and consistently makes philanthropic contributions towards girl child Education.

Ireti Samuel-Ogbu
Ireti Samuel-Ogbu

Ireti Samuel-Ogbu is the Managing Director of Citibank Nigeria. Prior to assuming office in Nigeria, she served as managing director of payments and receivables, treasury and trade solutions for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at the group’s office in London.

She had been on the Board of Citibank Nigeria Limited since 2015 as a non-Executive Director. In the last 32 years, Ireti 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.

As a champion of diversity and inclusion, Samuel-Ogbu co-founded two impactful mentorship initiatives within Citi – the Sapphire Leadership Program for the Middle East and Africa, and the Momentum Program in the UK. She is currently the EMEA co-Chair for Citi Women’s Affinity Group and represents EMEA on the Global Affinity Steering Committee at Citi.

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


Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe
Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe

Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe is the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank Plc. She was formerly the Executive Director, Lagos and South-West Directorate of the bank and has been an integral part of management in the last 6 years.

She joined the bank in 2015 and spearheaded the transformation of the Directorate, leading it to profitability and sustained its impressive year-on-year growth across key performance metrics, including contributing over 28 per cent of the Bank’s PBT, Deposits and Loans.

She is vastly experienced and has spent over 30 years working across various banks including Standard Chartered Bank Plc, Zenith Bank Plc and Citizens International Bank/Enterprise Bank, where she held several management positions in Legal, Treasury, Investment Banking, Retail/Commercial Banking and Corporate Banking.

As an Executive Director at legacy Enterprise Bank Plc, she received a formal commendation from the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), as a member of the management team that successfully turned around Enterprise Bank Plc.

She holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka; a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from King’s College, London; and has attended executive training programmes at notable global institutions including Harvard Business School; The Wharton School University of Pennsylvania; INSEAD School of Business; Chicago Booth School of Business; London Business School and IMD.


Bukola Smith

Bukola Smith

Bukola Smith is the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of FSDH Merchant Bank. She started her banking career with FSB International Bank (now part of Fidelity Bank) and her experience cuts across Customer Service, Funds Transfer, International Trade, Institutional Banking, Private Banking, Treasury, Investment & Financial Markets, Project & Structured Finance, Audit and Sales.

She rose to the position of Divisional Head, Treasury and Institutional Banking in Fidelity Bank Ltd before joining First City Monument Bank Limited (FCMB) in the year 2006 where she has occupied several positions as the Group Head, Treasury and Financial Institutions, Divisional Head, Investment Banking and Financial Markets, Director Project and Structured Finance, and Divisional Head, Group Internal Audit.

She became a Chartered Accountant in 1998 and is currently a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN). She is an Associate Member of the Certified Institute of Pensions, Nigeria, and also a Committee member of the CIBN Annual Conference (Honorary Member of CIBN). In addition, she is a Mentor with Wiscar (Women in Success Careers).


Kafilat Araoye

Kafilat Araoye

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

With over 25 years of 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.

Prior to this appointment, Kafilat was the Director of an outsourcing and management consulting company. She also worked at GTBank for 17 years and has served in different roles as General Manager & Group Head – Human Resources Group, General Manager & Group Head – Settlements Group, and in two other roles.

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Obafemi Awolowo University and a Master’s Degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the University of Lagos.

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