WHO RUNS THE BANKING WORLD? WOMEN?
Miriam Olusanya became the first female managing director of the Guarantee Trust Bank last week. Miriam Olusanya previously served as the executive director of the bank established in 1990. She joins the narrow list with five other female managing directors of a bank in Nigeria. Other are Yemisi Edun of FCMB (also this week), Nneka Unyeali-Ikpe of Fidelity Bank, Iretu Samuel-Ogbu of Citibank Nigeria, Tomi Somefun of Unity Bank, and Halima Buba of SunTrust Bank.
To a segment of the population that has faced some of the highest forms of marginalization, Nigerian women are taking the banking world by the storm. It is common knowledge that Nigerian women have to go through a more difficult track to enjoy the same successes as their male counterparts.
If you believe we need data to support this claim, the World Economic Forum ranks Nigeria as the 128th country on the 2020 Global Gender Gap Index. Yet, Nigeria was one of the most improved countries on the ranking from the previous rankings. This is only a pointer that we have come a long way, but we have an even longer way to go. Against the odds, women have to work harder to break through stereotypes and the thick cloud of pervasive patriarchy in the country.
Unfortunately, this struggle starts very early in life. Save the Children published the Girls’ Opportunity Index in 2016. The report showed Nigeria the ninth worst country for you to be a girl globally. The indicators considered for the rating included the prevalence of child marriage, maternal mortality, women representation in the parliament, adolescent fertility, and completion of lower secondary school.
Hence, it is a big deal when a woman succeeds. So, when people celebrate women making waves in an industry, it is acknowledging that their success is not moderately similar to what their male counterparts enjoy. It is applauding the struggles that went on behind the scenes and the motivation that beats the odds. These women are also models to developing girlchild. This is some glimmer of hope that, barring the stereotypes, women can attain heights unforeseeable.
And deservedly so, these women have been giants in the banking industry, standing on years of experience and a steady rise in success.
Miriam Chidiebere Olusanya has a pharmacy degree from the University of Ibadan and an MBA from the University of Liverpool. She has worked over two decades in the banking world with experiences cutting across various segments. She garnered a wealth of administrative experience as a Non-Executive Director at GTB (The Gambia) and Group Treasurer and Head of the Wholesale Banking Division of the Bank. Miriam was subsequently appointed Executive Director in 2018.
With experience working with Arthur Andersen LLP, KPMG, and UBA, Tomi Somefun has demonstrated excellence in the accounting and banking world. She has a degree in English Education from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife and an honourary Degree of Doctor of Business Administration (D.BA) from Redeemer’s University. She has trained in various institutions including, but not limited to Haver Business Schoo;, Fontainebleau, Columbia Business School, and INSEAD. She became the CEO/Md of Unity Bank in August 2015 and has served in the banking sector for nearly three decades.
Yemisi Edun is a graduate of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, where she studied Chemistry. She then proceeded to the University of Liverpool, where she bagged a Master’s degree in International Accounting and Finance. She is a member of various financial institutes and a US-certified Information Systems Auditor. Although she joined FCMB in 2000, she has been in the banking and finance industry since the 80s.
Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe played a crucial role in the transformation of Fidelity bank, having served as an Executive Director of Lagos and South West. With over 30 years’ experience under her belt, the UNN law graduate worked with different banks, including Standard Chartered Bank Plc, Enterprise (now Heritage) Bank, Citizens International Bank, and Zenith Bank Plc. She bagged her Masters of Law from King’s College, London. Nneka has had training at the Harvard Business School, INSEAD School of Business, London Business School, IMD, Wharton, etc.
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Spread over three decades, Ireti Samuel-Ogbu has experience with the industry in various parts of the world. She has “manned” Citibank’s affairs in London, South Africa, and Nigeria. Ireti studied and obtained a BA in Accounting and Finance and an MBA from Middlesex University and the University of Bradford, respectively. At Citi’s London office, she was the former Managing Director of Payments Receivables, Treasury and Trade Solution for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. She became the MD/CEO of Citibank Nigeria in August 2020.
Halima Buba holds a degree in Business Management and an MBA from the University of Maiduguri. Her over 20 years of experience in the banking world has seen he through Ecobank, Zenith Bank, Allstates Trust Bank, and Oceanic Bank. She has trained at the Lagos Business School and sits on the board of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA). Halima Buba was announced the SunTrust Bank MD/CEO in January 2020.