Nigeria’s Access Bank Group CEO Wigwe, Ogunbanjo among 6 dead in California helicopter crash

Herbert Wigwe

Herbert Wigwe, the Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Nigeria’s Access Bank, one of the country’s largest, has been named among six people who were killed in a helicopter crash in Southern California on Friday, authorities and the banking group said.

Six people were on board the helicopter when it crashed around 10:00 p.m. Friday (0600 GMT Saturday), February 10, 2024, near Nipton, California, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement.

Access Holdings has also confirmed that its Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Herbert Wigwe, his wife and son were among those who died in the crash.

“We extend our deep and sincere sympathies to his family and loved ones,” Access Holdings Chairman, Abubakar Jimoh, said in a statement on Sunday, adding that the company will soon appoint an acting CEO.

The media had reported that the Nigerian Exchange Group’s former Chairman, Abimbola Ogunbanjo, also died in the crash.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said the scene of the crash was determined to be east of the 15-Freeway, near Halloran Springs Road, adding that no survivors had been located as of Saturday.

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The FAA identified the helicopter as a Eurocopter EC 130 and said it would investigate along with the National Transportation Safety Board.

The helicopter was headed to Las Vegas when it crashed near a border city between Nevada and California, according to multiple reports.

About Hubert Wigwe

Mr. Wigwe started his professional career with Coopers & Lybrand Associates, an international firm of Chartered Accountants. He spent over 10 years at Guaranty Trust Bank Plc where he managed several portfolios, including financial institutions, large corporates and multinationals.

He left Guaranty Trust Bank as an Executive Director to co-lead the transformation of Access Bank Plc in March 2002 as Deputy Managing Director. He was appointed Group Managing Director/CEO effective January 1, 2014, and served in that capacity till May 2022. He was subsequently appointed a Non-Executive Director of the Bank effective May 2022.

Mr Wigwe is an alumnus of the Harvard Business School Executive Management Programme. He holds a master’s degree in Banking and International Finance from the University College of North Wales, a master’s degree in Financial Economics from the University of London and a B.Sc. degree in Accounting from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

He is also a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN). Mr Wigwe is the Chairman of The Access Bank (UK) Ltd and a Non-Executive Director of Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company Plc; FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange; Shared Agents Network Expansion Facilities Ltd and Agri-Business/ SME Enterprises Investment Scheme. He is also a member of the Governing Council of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria.