Adaora Umeoji Makes History As The First Female CEO Of Zenith Bank

Nmesoma Okwudili


March 27, 2024

Zenith Bank Plc has announced its latest strategic move with the appointment of Dame (Dr.) Adaora Umeoji as the incoming Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, effective June 1, 2024, pending approval by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). This significant transition follows the completion of Dr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu’s highly prosperous five-year tenure, culminating on May 31, 2024.

The elevation of Dame Adaora Umeoji to the top of the organization is a testament to Zenith Bank’s enduring commitment to its tradition and succession strategy, as stated in a press release issued by the bank’s secretary, Michael Otu. By adopting this approach, the bank demonstrates its commitment to nurturing and empowering its internal talent pool to assume leadership roles, ensuring continuity and long-term success.

The appointment of Dame Adaora Umeoji marks a pivotal moment for Zenith Bank as it looks toward a future guided by dynamic leadership and unwavering dedication to excellence. With her wealth of experience and proven track record, she is poised to steer the bank towards greater heights, building upon the foundation laid by her predecessor and reinforcing Zenith Bank’s position as a trailblazer in the Nigerian banking industry.

Dame (Dr.) Adaora Umeoji is the bank’s first female GMD/CEO since its founding, and her appointment aligns with the bank’s internal leadership development program, succession plan, and executive transition tradition.

Before assuming her current position, Dr. Umeoji served as the bank’s Deputy Managing Director, having been appointed on October 28, 2016, and accumulating nearly thirty years of extensive banking experience, with twenty-six years spent at Zenith Bank.

In 2022, Dr. Umeoji received the esteemed Officer of the Order of the Niger honor from the Federal Government of Nigeria, recognizing her noteworthy services to the advancement of the country. She also holds the designation of United Nations Peace Advocate (UN-POLAC).

As evidenced by her charitable activities through organizations like the Adorable Foundation and the Pink Breathe Cancer Foundation, Dr. Umeoji’s influence extends beyond the banking industry. These groups focus on educating and supporting impoverished children, particularly females, and cancer patients. Her dedication to improving the lives of others was further demonstrated when the Sun Newspaper recognized her humanitarian efforts and awarded her the Humanitarian Service Icon Award for 2023.

She earned a Master of Laws degree from the University of Salford in the United Kingdom, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Calabar, and obtained her Doctorate in Business Administration from Apollos University in the USA.

She also holds a Certificate in Economics for Business from the prestigious MIT Sloan School of Management in the United States and has completed various management programs at esteemed universities worldwide, including the Strategic Thinking and Management Program at the Wharton Business School in the United States.

Apart from her remarkable academic record, the recently appointed CEO of Zenith Bank holds the distinction of being the founder of the Catholic Bankers Association of Nigeria (CBAN), an organization she established to promote ethical banking practices and dedicated humanitarian work.


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