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Visionaries - April 24, 2022

7 Firebrand Female CEOs in Nigeria

You’ll find that many trailblazing female CEOs in Nigeria, have mastered the ability to inquire, self-learn, and be daring in order to advance their careers.

According to Ireti Samuel-Ogwu, the MD/CEO of CitiBank, “You can have the most enabling environment, but you need to be aware of the fundamental differences between men and women.

This is because you need to know how they operate, or you won’t be able to take advantage of the inclusive culture and enable women to progress”.

Here are 7 firebrand female CEOs in Nigeria.

Adenike Ogunlesi

Adenike Ogunlesi is a well-known children’s clothing designer and producer. Ruff ‘n’ Tumble, her brand, was founded in 1996. Despite its humble beginnings, it has grown to become one of the most profitable and inventive children’s apparel firms in Nigeria.

The firm grew from a unique children’s clothing line to a lifestyle brand worth millions of dollars with awareness beyond Nigeria’s borders.

Apart from children’s wear, her company now produces socks, coats, swimsuits, shorts, trousers, suits, shirts, and other apparel products. She achieved success with multiple awards to her brand’s name through persistence and perseverance.

Miriam Olusanya

female CEOs Nigeria

Miriam Olusanya has over 23 years in banking, transaction services, asset and liability management, financial markets, and investor relations. She sits on the board of Guaranty Trust Bank Limited as a Non-Executive Director in the Gambia.

Miriam was the bank’s Treasurer and Head of the Wholesale Banking Division. She began her career with GTBank as an Executive Trainee and worked her way up to Executive Director in 2018. In 2021, she was promoted to the managing director position.

She is a member of the Financial Markets Sub-Committee of the Bankers’ Committee. The serves as the principal interactive policy forum for the Central Bank of Nigeria and banks.

Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe

female CEOs Nigeria

In 2021, Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe became the Managing Director/CEO of Fidelity Bank. In the last six years, she has been a key member of Fidelity Bank’s transformation team.

She was previously the Executive Director of Lagos and South-West, where she was in charge of the bank’s operations in the six states that make up the bank’s South West area.

Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe is a consummate professional with over 30 years of experience in Legal, Treasury, Investment Banking, Retail/Commercial Banking, and Corporate Banking at banks such as Standard Chartered Bank Plc, Zenith Bank Plc, and Citizens International Bank Limited.

She has worked in different management positions in Legal, Treasury, Investment Banking, Retail/Commercial Banking, and Corporate Banking. Also, in different industries such as oil and gas, manufacturing, aviation, real estate, and exports.

As the Executive Director at Enterprise Bank Plc, she earned formal recognition from the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) as a part of the management team that successfully turned around the bank.


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Teju Ajani

female CEOs Nigeria

Teju Ajani is the first Managing Director for Apple in Nigeria and the first woman to hold the position. She is in charge of Apple’s sales and business growth in Nigeria.

After three years as Google’s Nigeria Country Manager for Android, Ajani took over as Apple’s Managing Director for Nigeria. 

She has over 20 years of technological leadership experience working for Fortune 100 organisations in North America, Europe, and Sub-Saharan Africa as a Software Engineer.

She began her career as a Software Engineer at Vovida Networks in California, then moved to top positions at BEA Systems, VMware, and Oracle.

Ajani has vast experience in technology and innovation, strategic planning, company growth and relationship building, media content strategy, and consumer marketing.

Ireti Samuel-Ogbu

female CEOs Nigeria

Ireti Samuel-Ogbu is Citibank Nigeria Limited’s MD/CEO and the bank’s first female CEO. She was formerly the Head of Payments and Receivables, Treasury and Trade Solutions (TTS) for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) at Citi’s Institutional Clients Group (ICG) in London, UK.

Ireti has also served as a non-executive director on the board of Citibank Nigeria Limited for the last five years.

She co-founded two major mentoring programmes inside Citi, the Sapphire Leadership Program for the Middle East and Africa and the Momentum Program in the United Kingdom, as an advocate of diversity and inclusion.

Ireti Samuel-Ogbu is now the Citi Women’s Affinity Group’s EMEA co-chair and represents EMEA on Citi’s Global Affinity Steering Committee.

Juliet Ehimuan

Juliet Ehimuan is Google Nigeria’s Country Director, overseeing the company’s commercial strategy in West Africa.

According to Forbes, she is one of Africa’s top 20 power women, and the London Business School named her one of the world’s 30 most influential individuals. She was featured on the BBC Africa Power Women series in 2016 and on CNN Innovate Africa.

She has worked in the technology, oil and gas, and new media industries for over 25 years across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. The Nigeria Computer Society named her IT Personality of the Year.

She received the London Business School Global Women’s Scholarship. She is a Cambridge Commonwealth Society Fellow and received the Selwyn College Scholar and Malaysian Commonwealth Scholar awards at Cambridge University.

Juliet also serves on the Nigeria Economic Summit Group boards and the Nestle Nigeria PLC FATE Foundation (NESG).

Yvonne Ike

Yvonne Ike is the managing director at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and the head of Sub Saharan Africa.

She has over 25 years of expertise in the financial services industry. Since joining Bank of America (BofA) in 2014, she has helped the bank establish itself as a leader in delivering international financial services in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Before joining Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Yvonne worked at Renaissance Capital as the chief executive officer of the firm’s West Africa business, including Investment Banking and Securities Trading.

Yvonne joined the Oxford University Business School’s Global Advisory Council in 2020. She has won several international honours, including being named one of the top 200 businesswomen in the United Kingdom who have made a significant contribution to society by the Queen and being named one of Africa’s Top 100 Women CEOs in 2019.


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