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  Zenith Bank Plc, Nigeria’s most profitable bank, has appointed Adaora Umeoji as its first female Group Managing Director and CEO. This significant appointment is part of the bank’s established executive transition tradition and succession plan, demonstrating its commitment to grooming leaders from within.
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Adaora Umeoji’s ascent to the top position follows a decision by the board of directors, chaired by Nigeria’s richest banker, Jim Ovia. She will assume control and leadership from Ebenezer Onyeagwu, whose successful five-year term as Group Managing Director and CEO ends on May 31, 2024. With nearly thirty years of banking experience, twenty-six of which have been with Zenith Bank, Adaora Umeoji brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her new role. Under her leadership, the bank has experienced substantial profit growth, with profits soaring from N174.33 billion ($107.9 million) in 2022 to N434.17 billion ($268.71 million) in 2023. Umeoji’s journey to the top is characterized by academic excellence and professional achievement. She holds bachelor’s degrees in Accounting and Law from Baze University, Abuja, graduating with First-Class honours, a master’s in law from the University of Salford, United Kingdom, and an MBA from the University of Calabar.
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Her commitment to lifelong learning is evident through her participation in management programs at prestigious institutions like Harvard Business School, Columbia Business School, MIT Sloan School of Management, and Wharton Business School. In addition to her professional achievements, Adaora Umeoji is renowned for her dedication to service and philanthropy. Recognized by the Federal Government of Nigeria with the Officer of the Order of the Niger award in 2022, she has made significant contributions to nation-building. As a peace advocate for the United Nations (UN-POLAC), Umeoji has impacted countless lives through her philanthropic initiatives, including her foundations, the Pink Breathe Cancer Foundation, and the Adorable Foundation, which focuses on educating and supporting cancer patients and indigent children, particularly girls. In his congratulatory message to Adaora, Peter Obi tweeted:
I sincerely congratulate my very Dear Sister, Adaora Umeoji, on her elevation as the new Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Zenith Bank Plc. Her appointment by the board, to this high-profile position is a bold testament to her hard work, commitment to duty and her innovative leadership ability.

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The well-deserved appointment also attests to her merit, through years of knowledge and experience. She stands as a beacon of inspiration to young girls and women, a proof that success is not gender-based. There is no doubt that she will leverage on her knowledge and experience to continue to contribute to the growth of the banking and finance sector in the country and our economy in general. I wish her well in her new position and I pray God to give her the strength, wisdom and grace to lead Zenith Bank to greater heights. – PO

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This article was first published on 21st March 2024


Chidiogo Shalom Akaelu holds a degree in English and Literary Studies, from the University of Nigeria. She is a freelance writer, editor and founder of Loana Press, a budding online publishing outlet.

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