Story: Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede
In his early 40s, Imoukhuede was born in Ibadan to parents who were in the civil service. He hails from Sabongidda-Ora, Edo State. As a 10-year-old, he lived with his family in Lagos, in the south, but went to school in Kaduna, in the north. On one occasion, he was traveling by himself. He had his little suitcase with him. Then the scramble started and like the other passengers, he made a dash for the aircraft. But he was elbowed out and when the plane was full, the door was shut. Hear him “I stood there with my suitcase, the tears streaming down my face as the plane took off. I vowed there and then that in future, I would never be left behind, standing on the platform.”
He attended St. Saviours School in Lagos and at aged 16, he enrolled to study law at University of Benin where he graduated with a Bachelors degree in Law in 1986 at age 20 and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1987. He is an alumnus of Harvard Business School Executive Management Programme and graduated as Class Speaker PMD 75. He attended several other business schools and institutes including, the Citicorp Institute of Finance, Euromoney Capital Markets Bootcamp and IMD Lausanne, Switzerland.
He began working as a lawyer with Continental Merchant Bank, formerly Chase. According to him “Very soon I discovered that I enjoyed making deals more than doing legal work so I made the transition to core banking.”
He has over 19 years of professional and senior management banking experience at Guaranty Trust Bank, where he was next to the Managing Director as Executive Director in charge of Public Sector Group. He resigned in February 2002 and in March that same year led a team of other professionals for a transformation job at Access Bank Plc. His exposure in the banking sector spanned from treasury, finance control and planning, commercial banking and investment banking.
Access Bank was incorporated on February 8, 1998 as a privately owned commercial bank. It obtained a banking license and commenced business on 11 May 1998. The bank converted to a public limited liability company on 24 March 1998 and was listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange on 18 November 1998. In December 2001, Access bank was successfully recapitalized and the bank’s board of directors appointed Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede and others with a clear mandate to reposition the bank as one of Nigeria’s top 5 banks by the year 2007.
With his deputy, Herbert Wigwe (also an alumnus of the Harvard Business School), they took over Access Bank amidst storm and have turned it around to a profit making venture, thereby proving critics wrong about their move from GT Bank. Both have shown that success in any venture is mostly determined by acumen and not by old age.
The rebirth of a hitherto failing bank, Access Bank is today a success story, courtesy of the man popularly known as Aig, and his team. Articulate and brilliant, Imoukhuede is a team player, who does not take personal credit for the rising profile of the bank. Under his leadership, Access Bank Plc emerged from the 65th position in 2002, when he joined the bank to rank among the top 10 banks in the Nigerian banking industry before the consolidation. Access Bank, itself a new generation bank, had in the process of meeting the capitalization challenge, merged with two other new generation banks, Capital Bank International, CBI, and Marina International Bank, MIB.
Aigboje, a pastor of the Promised Land Ministries in Lagos and his team have come up with some of the most innovative products in the banking industry, some of which include “move-on-up”, an inspirational and motivational idea adopted by the bank to better the lives and businesses of its customers who desire to be more successful.
Though the bank did not meet the target of being among the first five by 2007, it now plays in the top 10 league of the list of 25 banks and has vowed to belong in the top five by 2010. The bank has expanded into other African countries including Gambia, Cote D’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Zambia and The Sierra Leone.
Access Bank in 2006 won the Thisday ‘most improved bank’ in Nigeria and Augusto & Co, a respected rating agency, also in 2006 classified Nigerian banks into three tiers and placed Access Bank in the second tier alongside Diamond Bank, Afribank, Fidelity Bank, Bank PHB and the Nigerian International Bank (Citibank). The bank not only hopes to rate among the top five in Nigeria in 2010 but among the top 50 in the world.He is a director of Asset and Resource Management and alternate Director of Kakawa Discount House.
He is a member of the Presidential Committee on the establishment of the African Investment Bank, a honourary member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria and a Governing Council member of the Financial Institutions Training Centre.
He is a member of the sub-committee of the Banker’s Committee on Professional Ethics, Harvard Business School Association of Nigeria, as well as on the boards of FATE Foundation where he assists in inspiring entrepreneurial driven youths to realize their potential. He is also a Fellow of ASPEN Leadership Initiative.