• Business - Companies
  • Updated: September 05, 2023

Five Outstanding Female CEOs In Nigeria You Should Know

Five Outstanding Female CEOs In Nigeria You Should Know

The proportion of female chief executive officers (CEOs) in charge of the biggest companies in Nigeria is still far lower than that of male CEOs. 

This is, however, not a problem restrained to Nigeria or Africa only. 

According to Fortune's Global 500, less than 5% of the largest companies in the world are led by female CEOs. 

In a country like Nigeria where women are undermined when it comes to appointments, these hardworking female CEOs deserve all the accolades they could get. 

They serve as role models for young women all around the world and are an inspiration to those who want to succeed in their careers. 

Their experiences serve as an example of the effectiveness of perseverance, a great deal of work, and diligence. 

Their history of diligence, hard work and dedication has brought them to the positions they now occupy today in top Nigerian companies. 

In today's listicle, we will be talking about the top five Nigerian female CEOs who are trailblazers and leading the success of some of Nigeria's top companies and institutions. 

1. Halima Buba, CEO of SunTrust Bank

Halima Buba is the CEO of SunTrust Bank, a commercial bank created by Muhammad Jibrin Barde in 2009. 

In 1991, she earned a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Business Management from the University of Maiduguri. 

She went on to earn an MBA from the same university in 2001.

In 1992, Buba began her work as an auditor with KPMG Nigeria. She then joined Zenith Bank in 1995 and worked her way up to become the Head of Retail Banking in 2009. 

She later became the Deputy General Manager of Retail Banking at Ecobank Nigeria in 2013. 

2. Oluwatomi Somefun, CEO of Unity Bank

The CEO of Unity Bank, one of Nigeria's top commercial banks, is Oluwatomi Somefun. 

She is the first woman in the bank's history to hold this position.

In 1981, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English Language from Obafemi Awolowo University. 

Later, in 1997, she graduated with a Master of Business Administration from the University of Lagos.

In 1982, Somefun started her job as an auditor at Peat Marwick and Co. Later, in 1986, she relocated to KPMG where she worked as a senior auditor. She started working as an associate for Ventures and Trusts Limited in 1992.

As general manager, Somefun joined Unity Bank in 1998. In 2002, she was made an executive director and later promoted to managing director and CEO of the bank in 2015. 


3. Owen Omogiafo, CEO of Transnational Corporation Plc

Transcorp, the largest conglomerate in Nigeria with operations in the energy, hospitality, and electricity sectors, is led by Owen Omogiafo as president and group CEO. 

Notably, she is the first woman to hold this post, emphasising her exceptional leadership abilities.

Omogiafo received a Bachelor's in Sociology and Anthropology from the University of Benin. 

Her quest for education led her to the prestigious London School of Economics and Political Science, where she received a Master of Science in Human Resource Management. 

She enhanced her abilities at the IESE Business School in Spain and the Lagos Business School to supplement her schooling.

At UBA, where she excelled in relationship management, she began her corporate career. 

She successfully made the switch to Accenture and flourished as an HR consultant, learning about organisational dynamics. 

A turning moment was when she joined Heirs Holdings Limited in 2010 as Director of Resources. 

She developed her skills in human capital management in this position and made important contributions to Transcorp, Heirs Holding, and the Tony Elumelu Foundation.

When Owen Omogiafo was named President and Group CEO of Transcorp in 2022, her career achieved its pinnacle. 

Her leadership gave the conglomerate's growth trajectory a fresh impetus. 

Transcorp has advanced under her leadership and become a significant participant in the Nigerian economy.

4. Stella Chinyelu Okoli, CEO of  Emzor Pharmaceutical

Emzor Pharmaceutical, one of the top pharmaceutical firms in Nigeria, is led by Stella Chinyelu Okoli. 

She is a pioneer in the pharmaceutical sector, and she significantly contributed to the growth of the sector in Nigeria.

Okoli earned a Bachelor of Pharmacy (Bpharm) from the University of Bradford in the United Kingdom in 1969. 

Additionally, she has a 1971 M.Sc. in Biopharmaceuticals from the University of London's Chelsea College.

In the United Kingdom, she began her career as a chemist with Boots the Chemists Limited. In 1977, she went back to Nigeria and started Emzor Pharmaceutical. 

The company began as a modest retail pharmacy in Shomolu, Lagos State. It eventually expanded into pharmaceutical distribution and imports, and then into pharmaceutical manufacture in 1986.


5. Yemisi Edun, CEO of First City Monument Bank

One of the top commercial banks in Nigeria, First City Monument Bank (FCMB), is led by CEO Yemisi Edun. 

She has been a banker for almost 30 years and is well known in the industry. She is renowned for her effective leadership and tactical insight.

She earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of Ife in Ile-Ife in 1985. 

She subsequently completed her education by earning a Master of Science in International Accounting and Finance in 2001 from the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom.

In 1987, Edun started working for Akintola Williams Deloitte as an auditor. She subsequently worked as the Divisional Head of Internal Audit and Control for First City Monument Bank (FCMB) beginning in 2000.

She was appointed the bank's chief financial officer in 2011. In 2021, she was appointed managing director and CEO of FCMB. 

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