Zenith Bank GMD bows out today as Adaora Umeoji takes over as first female GMD


The Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Zenith Bank Plc, Dr Ebenezer Onyeagwu, has been named the Best Banking CEO of the Year in Africa at the International Banker 2024 Banking Awards for the second consecutive year.

The award, published in the Spring 2024 issue of International Banker Magazine, United Kingdom, coincides with Onyeagwu’s completion of his five-year tenure today.

In a statement issued on Monday by the bank, Onyeagwu expressed delight at the award.

He said, “It is indeed an honour to be recognised as the ‘Best Banking CEO of the Year in Africa’ for a second consecutive year. This award is a testament to our team’s collective efforts and our commitment to innovation, growth, and delivering value to our customers and stakeholders. “It also reflects our dedication to sustainability and high ethical standards, which are integral to our overall strategy. I am immensely proud of our accomplishments and look forward to future opportunities for the bank as I hand over the baton to my successor and begin the mandatory regulatory cooling-off period.”

He dedicated the award to the founder and Chairman of Zenith Bank, Dr Jim Ovia, for his mentorship, which was crucial to his success as group managing director/CE; to the bank’s management team and staff for their unwavering commitment over the past five years and to the bank’s customers for their loyalty.

During his tenure, Onyeagwu led the bank to achieve significant milestones in financial performance, financial inclusion, corporate governance, and sustainability.

These achievements have earned the bank numerous local and international awards, including being named best bank in Nigeria four times in five years from 2020 to 2022 and in 2024 by the Global Finance World’s Best Banks Awards and Best Bank for Digital Solutions in Nigeria by the Euromoney Awards 2023.

It was listed in the World Finance Top 100 Global Companies in 2023 and recognised as the number one bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital for the 14th consecutive year in the 2023 Top 1000 World Banks Ranking published by The Banker Magazine.

Zenith Bank was honoured as the best commercial bank in Nigeria for three consecutive years from 2021 to 2023 by the World Finance Banking Awards; Best Corporate Governance Bank in Nigeria by the World Finance Corporate Governance Awards 2022 and 2023; Bank of the Year (Nigeria) by The Banker’s Bank of the Year Awards in 2020 and 2022; and Best in Corporate Governance Financial Services Africa for four successive years from 2020 to 2023 by Ethical Boardroom.

Other recognitions include Most Sustainable Bank in Nigeria at the International Banker 2023 Banking Awards, Best Commercial Bank in Nigeria, and Best Innovation in Retail Banking in Nigeria at the International Banker 2022 Banking Awards.

He was appointed as the group managing director/chief executive officer on June 1, 2019, as part of Zenith Bank’s succession planning strategy.

He would hand over the reins of leadership of the bank to the first female GMD, Dr Adaora Umeoji.

Last Thursday, the Chartered Risk Management Institute of Nigeria conferred its fellowship Onyeagwu in recognition of Zenith Bank’s outstanding risk management practices and contributions to the broader financial community.


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