Three days after his passing, Access Bank on Sunday confirmed the death of its Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Herbert Wigwe, his wife and son, in a helicopter crash in the U.S.
The bank said in a statement signed by Mr Sunday Ekwochi, Group Company Secretary, Access Holdings.
“It is with deep sadness that the Board of Directors of Access Holdings Plc (‘the Company’) announces the passing of Dr Herbert Wigwe, CFR, the Company’s founding Group Chief Executive Officer and former Group Managing Director of its flagship subsidiary Access Bank Plc (‘the Bank’).
“Dr Wigwe died alongside his wife Chizoba and son on Friday, February 9, 2024 in a helicopter accident in the United States of America.
“The entire Access Family mourns the loss of Herbert, Doreen and Chizi. We extend our deep and sincere sympathies to his family and loved ones.
“Dr Wigwe was a key driving force and a larger-than-life personality who brought his remarkable passion, energy, and experience to the transformation of the Access franchise since joining the Bank in 2002,” he said.
The Chairman of Access Holdings Mr Abubakar Jimoh also expressed his grief , “the Access Family has suffered a major loss with the passing of Dr Wigwe who was a great friend and fine gentleman.
“He had a prodigious intellect, admirable personal qualities, and vast business experience which he brought to bear on the Access Family and for which we owe him a debt of gratitude”.
Jimoh said in line with the company’s policy, the Board will soon announce the appointment of an Acting Group Chief Executive Officer.
He expressed hope that “the Access Group will build further on Dr Wigwe’s legacy of growth and operational excellence.”
President Bola Tinubu receives with shock and deep distress the news of the passing of Mr. Herbert Wigwe, top banker and entrepreneur, and Mr. Abimbola Ogunbanjo, OFR, former Group Chairman of the Nigerian Exchange Group Plc, along with members of the Wigwe family.
Mr. Herbert Wigwe, CON, was the Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings Plc and founder of the How Foundation.
President spokesman Chief Ajuri Ngelale said in a statement that President Tinubu mourns these exceptional Nigerian business leaders and describes their passing as “an overwhelming tragedy that is shocking beyond comprehension.”
Tinubu condoles with the Wigwe and Ogunbanjo families, the business community, and all those impacted by this harrowing incident.
President Tinubu prays for the peaceful repose of the departed and asks God Almighty to comfort the multitude of Nigerians who are grieving and the families of the deceased at this deeply agonizing moment.
Mr. Peter Obi, the 2023 presidential candidate of the Labour Party has also expressed grief over the death of Access Bank Holding Company Chief Executive Officer, Herbert Wigwe.
Reacting to the incident in a tweet on Sunday, Mr..Obi said he was distressed to hear the news as Wigwe had been a close ally of his for years.
“I am deeply saddened by the tragic news of the passing of my dear friend, Mr Herbert Wigwe, CEO of Access Holdings, along with his wife and son, and another close friend, Abimbola Ogunbanjo, former group chairman of NGX Group.
“This loss is profoundly felt across the nation. I first met Herbert during his early days, on the brink of starting his marital journey.
“I vividly remember assisting him in preparing for his traditional wedding and being there for the ceremony with his wife, Chizoba, from Achina, Anambra.
“Since then, I have maintained a connection to his endeavors in my own modest ways. Herbert, a determined and forward-thinking individual, led Access Bank to new heights.
“His noteworthy contributions extended beyond the professional realm, with commendable philanthropic efforts in health and education.
“This was exemplified by the establishment of Wigwe University, showcasing his deep commitment to education as a driver of development,” he said.
Obi said the loss of such an exceptional individual reminded mankind of the fleeting nature of life, and encouraged them to live with a purpose that contributed to the betterment of humanity.
The former governor said his heartfelt thoughts and prayers were with Herbert, his beloved wife, his son, and all those who lost their lives in the tragic plane crash.
He prayers that God should grant them eternal rest and provide strength to Herbert’s family, Access Holdings, and all of them mourning the irreplaceable loss.