The Oasis Reporters
January 2, 2021
A beautiful addition to the 2019 theme for the International Women’s Day which was ‘BalanceforBetter’ has just occurred with Mrs Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe’s entry into the top echelon of financial circles as Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank PLC on January 1, 2021.
She took over from Nnamdi Okonkwo whose mandatory tenure set by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN expired. He was in the saddle from 2014 to December 31, 2020.
Okonkwo had led the major Tier 2 bank to hit a profit level of 21% as PBT hit 30.4bn in his final year as CEO (2020), being a difficult year in the industry due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, which disrupted economies around the world.
Onyeali-Ikpe is an industry professional of over 30 years standing and she is known as the Amazon of the Nigerian banking sector, Mrs Onyeali-Ikpe’s assumption of office has brought a great deal of excitement to the financial services sector. A two-time Executive Director at two different commercial banks, first at the former Enterprise Bank and later at Fidelity Bank, she is a consummate professional with several awards of recognition for her contribution to the growth of the organizations where she has worked.
A versatile banker with experience that cuts across legal, treasury services, retail, investment, corporate and commercial banking with notable financial institutions such as Zenith Bank and Standard Chartered Bank among others. One other striking dimension to the new Managing Director is her love for charity outreaches. She is well known to support many orphanages in Lagos- a practice she imbibed for so many years.
Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe is expected to continue to lead the transformation of the Bank in its quest for Tier 1 status, and it’s just about time for the feminine rise to the top of the ladder, shattering the glass ceiling while showing masterclass.
Mrs Onyeali-Ikpe is a Law graduate from the University of Nigeria. She also attended the Nigerian Law School and holds a Master of Laws (LLM) from Kings College, London, United Kingdom. She is an Honorary Senior Member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Nigeria and has attended various executive programmes at the Said Business School, University of Oxford, London Business School, University of Chicago, Harvard Business School, Wharton University of Pennsylvania, USA, INSEAD at France, IMD at Lausanne, Switzerland and Lagos Business School among others.
Besides Onyeali-Ikpe as an exciting feminine glass ceiling breaker in the financial world, a sign that gender balance on competency is here with us, Nigeria has quite a fistful of women achievers.
Here’s a brief look at some of them:
Nigeria has had amazons like Arunma Oteh as Ecobank board member who was also former Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) DG and equally former treasurer of the World Bank.
Sola David-Borha remains notable as Chief Executive, Africa Regions, Standard Bank Group and also former CEO of Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc as well as former CEO of Stanbic IBTC Bank.
She previously held executive roles which included acting managing director of IBTC Chartered Bank Plc and executive director of CIB (excluding South Africa).
There’s also Toyin Sanni – CEO, Emerging Africa Capital Group
Toyin Sanni, founder and CEO, Emerging Africa Capital Group (Genesis International) a Nigerian-based financial services provider, was the immediate past Group CEO of United Capital Plc
Mention must be made of Ibukun Awosika, Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria Plc and the first woman to take up such a position since its establishment over a century ago.
Yet another amazon is Aishah Ahmad – Deputy Governor, CBN.
Highly respected and influential global leader, economist and policymaker, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is equally a front line glass ceiling breaker.
She was Finance Minister of Nigeria for two terms and a coordinating minister of the economy. For five years in a row, she has consistently made Forbes’s 100 Most Powerful Women in the World and one of the Most Influential People in the World by TIME Magazine.
In 2015, she was also listed as one of the 50 Greatest World Leaders by Fortune.
Okonjo-Iweala might rise to head the World Bank as President.
Nigerian Women are rising, and events like this, are happy ones.