International Women's Day

Today is International Women’s day, a global, annual event specially dedicated to celebrate women and their many accomplishments in different spheres of life. And as traditional of us here at Nairametrics, we felicitate with women around the world, especially Nigerian women in business.

Nigerian women have come a long way from the early days when their main occupation entailed being wives and mothers, to the present time when they sit on the boards of reputable corporations. And there is still a long way to go, with many more glass ceilings to be broken.

In the meantime, however, Nairametrics will keep celebrating women who are paving the way for others in the Nigerian corporate environment. Here are some of Nigeria’s top female executives to mark this year’s International Women’s Day. Some of them are notable names, while the others are still building their influence. Get to know them.

Mrs Owen Omogiafo, the CEO of Transcorp Hotels Plc 

Mrs Omogiafo was recently appointed the Chief Executive Officer of Transcorp Hotels Plc. She has more than eighteen years’ corporate experience, including her most recent role as the Chief Operating Officer of the Tony Elumelu Foundation. She has also held senior leadership positions in reputable corporations such as Heirs Holdings, United Bank for Africa, and Accenture.

She holds a B.Sc. in Sociology & Anthropology from the University of Benin and an M.Sc. in Human Resource Management from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Mrs. Omogiafo is a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), UK and a Certified Change Manager with the Prosci Institute, USA. 

Adeyinka Adekoya, CEO of Wapic Insurance Plc

For nearly three years now, Mrs Adekoya has served as the Chief Executive Officer of Wapic Insurance Plc. She assumed the position in 2016. Prior to this time, the University of Lagos graduate had served as the General Manager of both Cornerstone Insurance Plc and Law Union & Rock Plc.

Mrs Rose Okwechime, the CEO of Abbey Mortgage Bank Plc

Appointed in 1992, Mrs Okwechime has been the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Abbey Mortgage Bank Plc for nearly thirty years. Prior to taking up the position, she worked in the banking industry for twenty four years, including stints at the Bank of England. She holds a master’s degree in Banking and Finance.

Mrs Ibukun Awosika, First Bank’s Chairman

Mrs. Ibukun Awosika is a 56-year old Ibadan-born business leader who graduated with a B.Sc. in Chemistry from the Obafemi Awolowo University.  She is also an alumnus of the IESE Business School, as well as the Lagos Business School.

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Asides her position as the Chairman of FirstBank, Mrs. Awosika is also the Chief Executive Officer of The Chair Centre Group. She also sits on the boards of numerous other companies and NGOs.

Ibukun Awosika, Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria Plc

Mrs Bola Adesola, the Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Bank

Mrs. Bola Adesola is a graduate of the University of Buckingham, where she studied Law. She was called to the Nigerian bar in 1985.

She is also an alumna of the Harvard Business School, having undergone an Advanced Management Programme there. Mrs. Adesola also completed the Chief Executive Programme at the Lagos Business School.

Professionally, Mrs Adesola has garnered over 25 years of experience in the banking sector. Her career cuts across several financial institutions including Citibank Nigeria (a member of the Citigroup) where she worked for nearly ten years with executive roles in Nigeria and Tanzania.

In March 2011, Mrs. Adesola was appointed as the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria Limited. As part of her role as the head of the bank, she has been utilising her exposure and experience in the banking industry to drive growth and lead the bank to success. Note that she is currently a Director also at the bank.

Funmi Omo, the CEO of African Alliance Plc

Funmi Omo is one of the few females occupying executive positions in the Nigerian corporate environment today. As the Chief Executive Officer of African Alliance Plc, it is her job to make strategic decisions that will position the company for growth.

She studied Insurance at the University of Lagos, graduating in 1990 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree, even though she never planned to study Insurance. She admitted in an interview, that she had initially set out to study Accountancy, but was unable to meet the admission cut-off mark for that discipline, due to certain reasons. Fortunately, she ended up loving Insurance, despite her initial misgivings.

Mrs Funmilayo Omo has nearly 30 years of professional experience in the insurance industry, all of which happened at African Alliance Plc. Right after her National Service year, she got a job with the company in 1991 as an Assistant Superintendent.

She quickly rose through the ranks, working a number of high profile jobs until she became the company’s Chief Executive Officer in May 2017; a position she has since held on to. Altogether, she has worked at African Alliance Insurance Plc for almost thirty years. And she seemed determined to turn things around for the better, especially now that it is her duty, as the CEO, to drive “overall corporate strategic goals and purpose to meet and exceed expectations of our different stakeholders.”

Unity Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Mrs Tomi Somefun

Mrs. Somefun was a student of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife, graduating in 1981 with a Bachelor of Education in English language. Although she was never a trained accountant nor economist, she went on to acquire other important professional certifications after her university days. Today, she is a prominent Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN).

Having undergone graduate studies at both the Harvard Business School and University of Columbia Business School, Mrs. Somefun is an alumnus of both prestigious American institutions of study. In the same vein, she has participated in quite a number of local and international training programmes which are specific to her banking profession. An example of such is the INSEAD Fontainebleau, in France.

Nigerian CEOs
Mrs Tomi Somefun, the CEO of Unity Bank Plc

Mrs. Somefun is a modern Nigerian woman who has successfully maintained a professional career spanning at least thirty-three years. Note that while most of these years of experience have been in the financial sector, she also has experiences cutting across other sectors.

In her early days, she started out working at KPMG as a Senior Audit Assistant between 1982 and 1986. From there, she went on to work at Arthur Andersen in 1986 as a Senior Auditor. She has also been employed at Ventures & Trusts Limited, between 1989 and 1992, as an Associate.

Prior to her current appointment, Mrs Somefun held many high profile positions in other reputable companies such Credit Bank Limited and UBA Plc. She was also the MD/CEO of UBA Capital & Trustee Limited and the Founding Managing Director of UBA Pension Custodian Limited: two of UBA Group’s major subsidiaries.

Mrs Folorunsho Alakija, the Executive Vice Chairman of Famfa Oil Limited

Recent ranking by Forbes Magazine lists Mrs Folorunsho as the richest woman in Nigeria and second richest in the whole of Africa. With an estimated net worth of $1.1 billion, she is second only to Angola’s Isabel Dos Santos who has net worth of $2.3 billion.

Mrs Folorunsho was born on 15 July 1951. Like many other women, she started her career from the bottom, working as a secretary at a Lagos-based company in 1974. She later dabbled into banking, before establishing her first company called Supreme Stitches. She ended up becoming an oil magnate. And today, we know her as one of the richest women in the world.

Nigerians occupy top spots on Forbes Magazine's wealthiest African billionaires' list - Folorunsho Alakija
Folorunsho Alakija

These are definitely not all the Nigerian women making waves in the Nigerian corporate environment. But for the sake of time and space, these are the ones that can be mentioned here. Nairametrics celebrate with all the woman, wishing them more success in all their current and future endeavours.

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