A tragic helicopter crash in Southern California has claimed the lives of six individuals, including Herbert Wigwe, the esteemed Group CEO of Access Bank, one of Nigeria’s largest banks. The incident occurred around 10 p.m. Friday near Nipton, California, as confirmed by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.
Herbert Wigwe, a visionary leader and driving force behind Access Bank’s remarkable growth, was accompanied by his wife and son on the ill-fated flight. Abimbola Ogunbanjo, former Chairman of the Nigerian Exchange Group, was also in the same crash.
Equally, Access Holdings Plc officially confirmed the demise of its Group Chief Executive Officer, along with others, in the tragic helicopter accident. In a statement signed by the Group’s Company Secretary, Sunday Ekwochi, the Board of Directors expressed sadness over the unfortunate incident, describing Wigwe as a key driving force behind the transformation of the Access franchise since his tenure at Access Bank in 2002.
Recognised for his unwavering commitment to excellence, Herbert Wigwe spearheaded numerous initiatives that propelled Access Bank to new heights. Under his leadership, Access Bank expanded its footprint both domestically and internationally, solidifying its position as a leading financial institution in Africa.
Wigwe’s tenure at Access Bank was marked by a series of transformative achievements, including the successful acquisition and integration of key competitors, strategic partnerships with global organisations, and the implementation of innovative financial solutions tailored to the needs of customers.
Beyond his professional accomplishments, Herbert Wigwe was widely admired for his integrity, humility, and dedication to social responsibility. He championed numerous philanthropic endeavours aimed at empowering marginalised communities and fostering economic development across Africa.
As news of Herbert Wigwe’s passing reverberates throughout the business world, tributes pour in from colleagues, industry peers, and government officials. President of Nigeria, Bola Tinubu, and President of the Nigerian Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio, along with Peter Obi, Femi Otedola, and Tony Elumelu, have all expressed shock and deep sorrow over the tragic loss.
Preliminary findings from ongoing investigations suggest that adverse weather conditions, including wintry weather, played a significant role in the helicopter crash. Michael Graham, a National Transportation Safety Board member, addressed the media, stating that officials were on the scene to gather perishable evidence.
In the wake of this tragic loss, Access Bank and the entire banking community mourn the passing of a visionary leader whose visionary leadership and unwavering dedication will be deeply missed. Herbert Wigwe’s legacy will continue to inspire future generations of leaders to strive for excellence and make a lasting impact on society.