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WIMBIZ,  a non-profit making organisation for women in business in Nigeria, has released a report on female representation on top management boards of financial institutions in the country based on their 2012 – 2014 report. Studies have shown that there is a gradual increase in women representation at top board positions – which is remarkable but still very inadequate. Confidence and acceptance levels have also increased for women occupying leadership positions in Nigeria. This is a list of women who currently occupy top financial board positions in Nigeria. Not only do they just occupy these positions, they are impressively good at what they do and are incredible women. So, if you in any way doubt the impact women have in a multi-diverse society like ours, knowing these phenomenal women is bound to change your mind. Here are 6 women at top positions in Nigerian financial institutions you should know. 1. Sola David-Borha, CEO Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC: Sola David-Borha is described as a woman with a strong personality and a high IQ. Apart from being declared as one of the highest paid CEOs in Nigeria, she also serves as an associate pastor at the Redeemed Christian Church of God, City of David parish. She holds a B.Sc Economics degree from the University of Ibadan and an MBA from Manchester Business School, UK. Her educational experience also includes the Advanced Management Programme of the Harvard Business School. She is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers and Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group. Before her appointment as CEO, she previously served as Deputy CEO Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC among other appointments. 2. Bola Adesola, MD/CEO Standard Chartered: Bola Adesola joined Standard Chartered as the MD/CEO in 2011 and in 2013. She was chosen as the winner of the “Outstanding Woman in Business” category at the Africa Business Awards 2013. This year, Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations Secretary-General announced her appointment as a member of the board of the United Nations Global Compact. Before her appointment as MD/CEO Standard Chartered, she served with First Bank of Nigeria PLC as the Executive Director for Corporate Business then later was empowered to manage the entire company in Lagos including retail, corporate and commercial banking. She was the Managing Director at Kakawa Discount House Nigeria and worked in Citibank in Nigeria and Tanzania for 9 years. She holds a law degree from the University of Buckingham, UK and was called to bar in 1985. She is an honorary fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers Nigeria and is part of the board of the Financial Markets Dealers Association. She chairs the Central Bank of Nigeria Bankers’ Sub-Committee on Women’s Economic Empowerment and was recently appointed the first female Vice President of the Lagos Business School Alumni Association (LBSAA) She has over 25 years of banking experience and expertise. 3. Osaretin Afusat Demuren, Chairman Guaranty Trust Bank: Osaretin Afusat Demuren was confirmed 6th Chairman of the Board of Guaranty Trust Bank Directors in April this year. She joined Guaranty Trust Bank PLC in 2013 as a non-Executive Director and served as a member of the Board Risk Management Committee of which she became Chairman in 2014. She also served as a member of the Board Remuneration Committee and the Board Information Technology Strategy Committee. Prior to joining Guaranty Trust Bank, she served in the Central Bank of Nigeria for over 33 years at the Trade and Exchange Department, as member and secretary to the Public Enlightenment Committee on Second-tier Foreign Exchange Market, as a representative of the Central Bank of Nigeria on Special Investigation Panel on Trade Malpractices of the Federal Ministry of Commerce and Tourism and was appointed Director, Human Resource Department in 2004, a position she held until her retirement from the Central Bank in 2009 among many other roles. She is popularly known as the first female Director of CBN. She has a diploma in Russian Language and Preliminary Studies from the Kiev State University and a master’s degree in Economics and Statistics from Moscow Institute of Economics and Statistics. She is also a member of professional associations such as the Society of Human Resource Management of America, Nigerian Statistical Association, Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria and the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria. 4. Adeola Azeez, Deputy Country Head, Deutsche Bank Nigeria: Adeola Azeez is the Deputy Country Head of the Deutsche Bank Nigeria where she oversees the bank’s business operations including managing liaisons between the Deutsche Bank offshore and Nigerian banks. She has over 20 years’ expertise in correspondent banking. She was one of the founding members of Women In Management, Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ) and was elected in 2011 as the Chairperson of WIMBIZ. She has a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from the University of Lagos and LLB from the University of Warwick. 5. Bunmi Lawson, Pioneer Managing Director/CEO of ACCION Microfinance Bank Limited: ACCION Microfinance Bank Limited commenced operations under its pioneer Managing Director, Bunmi Lawson in 2007 with one branch and 18 members of staff. Today, ACCION Microfinance Bank has grown to serving over 30,000 customers in a total of 10 branches and with over 200 staff members. She is a co-owner and Director of VLA Lawrence & Associates, a Human Resource services organisation with over 18 years of experience in finance, insurance, marketing and auditing. Before ACCION, she was the Executive Director of FATE Foundation Ltd, a leading business development service provider in Nigeria. Bunmi Lawson has a master’s degree in Business Administration from the IESE Business School, University of Naverra. She is an alumna of the Lagos Business School and also a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria. She also has an HND in accounting from the Yaba College of Technology where she graduated with a first class. 6. Ibukun Awosika, Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria: First Bank of Nigeria PLC announced the appointment of Ibukun Awosika yesterday, 8th September, 2015 as the new chairman of the Board, making her the first woman to take up this position since the establishment of the bank. Before her appointment, she was a non-Executive Director of the Bank. Ibukun Awosika graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife and holds an MBA from IESE Business School, Barcelona, Spain. She is an alumna of the Lagos Business School Chief Executive Programme. She is the founder/CEO of The Chair Centre, Sokoa Chair Centre Limited and TCC Security Systems. She is also a fellow of the Aspen Global Leadership Network and a multiple award winning entrepreneur. She has founded, and supports, many non-profits institutions. She is also a board member of the Women in Management and Business (WIMBIZ) and Convention on Business Integrity. She is a pastor of the Fountain of Life Church and she hosts a popular TV programme called, Business His Way. She is the chairperson and promoter of After School Graduate Development Centre (AGDC) which is a social enterprise set up to address employability and enterprise development for young Nigerians.  

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This article was first published on 9th September 2015

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