(Bloomberg) -- Access Holdings Plc, owner of Nigeria’s biggest bank by assets, appointed Bolaji Agbede as acting group chief executive officer after the death of Herbert Wigwe in a helicopter crash last week.

Agbede was Access’s most senior founding executive director in charge of business support until her appointment, according to a filing to the Nigerian Stock Exchange. The appointment is subject to central bank approval, the lender said.

Wigwe, 57, died in the accident that occurred in the California desert on Feb. 11. The Airbus Helicopters EC-130 went down with six people on board including Wigwe’s wife and son, according to the National Transportation Safety Board, which is in charge of an investigation into the crash.

Read more: Death of Top Nigerian Banker Shifts Focus to Lender’s Future

Wigwe and his business partner, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, acquired Access in 2002 and he rose to become CEO in 2014, after succeeding his partner. He led the bank’s aggressive growth through a strategy focused on local and foreign acquisitions, connecting Africa in trade and payments and capping risks in its home market of Nigeria.

Agbede has almost three decades of experience, and served as Access’s head of human resources from 2010 to 2022. She holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and statistics from the University of Lagos and an MBA from Cranfield University in the UK. 

Access had a total asset base of 20.9 trillion naira ($14 billion) as of June and operates in 20 countries including the United Arab Emirates and the UK, in addition to four representative offices in China, India, Lebanon and France.



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