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Zenith Bank appoints Adaora Umeoji as first-ever female CEO

Zenith Bank Plc has announced the appointment of Dr Adaora Umeoji as group managing director/chief executive officer (GMD/CEO) with effect from June 1 subject to approval by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Dr Umeoji takes over from Dr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu, whose five-year term expires on May 31.

She is the first female GMD/CEO since the inception of the bank, and her appointment is consistent with the bank’s executive transition tradition, succession plan, and strategy of grooming leaders from within.

Before she was appointed GMD/CEO, Umeoji was deputy managing director of the bank since October 28, 2016 and has close to 30 years of cognate banking experience of which 26 have been with Zenith Bank.

Umeoji is an alumnus of the prestigious Harvard Business School where she attended the Advanced Management Program (AMP) and an alumnus of Columbia Business School with a Certificate in the Global Banking Program.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Jos, a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a first-class honor in law from Baze University, Abuja. She holds a Master of Laws from the University of Salford, United Kingdom, a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Calabar, and also has a doctorate in business administration from Apollos University, USA.

She holds a certificate in economics for business from the prestigious MIT Sloan School of Management, USA, and has attended various management programmes in renowned Universities around the world including the strategic thinking and Management programme at Wharton Business School, USA. She also attended the executive program in Strategic Management and has a Certificate in Leading Global Business all from Harvard Business School, USA.

She is a fellow of notable professional bodies including the Chartered Banker Institute, UK, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, Nigerian Institute of Management, Institute of Credit Administration, Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Nigeria, Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators, and the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria among others.

In 2022, the Federal Government of Nigeria honoured Umeoji with Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) as a recognition of her contributions to nation-building. She is a Peace Advocate of the United Nations (UN-POLAC).

She has impacted many lives through her philanthropic and humanitarian activities through her NGOs; Pink Breathe Cancer Foundation and the Adorable Foundation which educates and caters for cancer patients and indigent children education, especially the Girl-Child. Her contribution to humanity was recognised by the Sun Newspaper which bestowed on her the Humanitarian Service Icon Award for 2023.

As a result of her passion for promoting professionalism in the banking industry and improving the well-being of the less privileged, Umeoji founded the Catholic Bankers Association of Nigeria (CBAN), a platform she uses to promote ethical banking and service to humanity.

She is a Lady of the Order of Knights of St. John International (KSJI) and was awarded a Papal Knight of the Order of St. Sylvester by Pope Francis.

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