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Top female MD/CEOs of Banks and Bank HoldCos in Nigeria 2024 



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In the past five to six years, Nigeria’s banking sector has witnessed remarkable growth, with the NGX banking index soaring by 114.89% in 2023.  

Despite facing disruptions from financial technology companies and navigating through Central Bank of Nigeria regulations alongside macroeconomic challenges, these financial institutions have demonstrated resilience, maintaining their market capitalization, revenue growth, and transaction volumes. 

 Traditionally, the banking sector has thrived in environments characterized by inflation and interest rate hikes. Tier-1 banks have particularly stood out during this period, with many boasting market capitalizations exceeding N1 trillion. 

 However, there has been a noticeable shift in leadership dynamics, with powerful female executives taking the helm as Managing Directors and CEOs of both banks and Bank HoldCos. This trend reflects the industry’s recognition of female leadership prowess and the importance of diversity in driving organizational success. 

 With recent appointments reshaping the landscape of the banking sector, let’s take a closer look at the top female MD/CEOs leading banks and Bank HoldCos in Nigeria in 2024. 

11.  Kafilat Araoye- Managing Director Lotus Bank 

Kafilat Araoye is the Managing Director of Lotus Bank, a position she took on in 2018. With over 25 years in banking, she has expertise in virtually all areas of core banking.Her educational journey includes a history Degree from the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University (1985), and an M.Sc. in Industrial Relations & Personnel Management from the University of Lagos (1987. 

 Araoye started out in 1988 at National Oil and Chemicals Marketing Company Plc (now Conoil Nigeria Plc), and moved in 1990 to Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, as the pioneer head of Human Resources.  

During her time there she was part of the GTBank team that went to Jordan for the implementation of its core banking application amongst other critical assignments executed for the Bank. She made her exit in 2015 as General Manager but continued to consult for banks and other sectors through her consulting outfit until 2018 when she was appointed as the MD Designate for LOTUS Bank then in formation.


Halima Buba 

Halima currently serves as the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of SunTrust Bank Nigeria Limited, bringing with her over 22 years of experience in the banking sector.  

Before her appointment as MD/CEO of Sun Trust Bank Ltd, Halima co-founded and served as an Executive Director of Taj Consortium, a group of young technocrats and financial advisory experts.  

Yetunde B. Oni

Yetunde B. Oni currently serves as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer at Union Bank, assuming the role in January 2024 following the Central Bank of Nigeria’s dissolution of the Board and Management of three prominent banks: Union Bank, Keystone Bank, and Polaris Bank.  

With over 30 years of experience, Yetunde is a highly accomplished financial services leader who has held senior positions in both international and local banks, with a focus on emerging markets. 

Bukola Smith

Bukola Smith is the Managing Director and CEO of First Securities Discount House Limited, assuming her position in 2021. With 29 years of progressive experience in the banking industry, Smith has established herself as a strategic leader with a proven track record of execution. 

Tomi Somefun

Tomi Somefun is the Managing Director/CEO of Unity Bank Plc. Before her appointment in August 2015, she served as the Executive Director overseeing the Lagos and South-West Business Directorates, the Financial Institution Division and the Treasury Department of the Bank.  

Ireti Samuel Ogbu

Ireti Samuel-Ogbu assumed the role of MD/CEO for Citibank Nigeria Limited in September 2020, becoming the first female CEO of the bank. Her journey with Citibank spans various countries and roles, including Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Nigeria, and South Africa.   

Yemisi Edun

Yemisi Edun was appointed Managing Director of the First City Monument Bank following CBN approval on May 1, 2021.