Outrage As Nigerians Condemn Access Holdings Statement On Herbert Wigwe's Death

 Nigerians have reacted to a statement issued by Access Holdings on the death of its former CEO Mr Herbert Wigwe

Mr Wigwe died on Saturday in a helicopter crash alongside his wife , son and three others in the United States of America 

While Nigerians have been pouring out their hearts out on the tragic incident , the Bank finally issued a press Statement on the incident on Sunday

While the Bank expressed its sadness over his death , what irked several people was the last paragraph of the statement which assured the Bank's customers that the Company is working on appointing an Acting Chief Executive to take over the job of Mr Herbert Wigwe ( although described as statutory) less than 24 hours after his death

They've taken to social media to vent their anger on what they claimed to be an " insensitive " statement 

To them the appointment of a new Chief Executive even if in the offing shouldn't form a part of the statement of such magnitude knowing fulĺy well the tragic nature of his death 

See Statement 

Full Statement 

“It is with deep sadness that the Board of Directors of Access Holdings Plc (‘the Company’) announces the passing of Dr. Herbert Wigwe, CFR, the Company’s founding Group Chief Executive Officer and former Group Managing Director of its flagship subsidiary Access Bank Plc (‘the Bank’). Dr. Wigwe died alongside his wife and son on Friday, February 9, 2024 in a helicopter accident in the United States of America.

“The entire Access Family mourns the loss of Herbert, Doreen and Chizi. We extend our deep and sincere sympathies to his family and loved ones. Dr. Wigwe was a key driving force and a larger-than-life personality who brought his remarkable passion, energy, and experience to the transformation of the Access franchise since joining the Bank in 2002. Commenting on the passage of Dr. Wigwe, Mr. Abubakar Jimoh, Chairman of Access Holdings said:

“The Access Family has suffered a major loss with the passing of Dr. Wigwe who was a great friend and fine gentleman. He had a prodigious intellect, admirable personal qualities, and vast business experience which he brought to bear on the Access Family and for which we owe him a debt of gratitude

“In line with the Company’s policy, the Board will soon announce the appointment of an Acting Group Chief Executive Officer even as we remain confident that the Access Group will build further on Dr. Wigwe’s legacy of growth and operational excellence.”

Some of the Comments On Social Media 

John Ogunlela

"A very poorly worded document, and I am deliberate in applying the intensifier, 'very'.

1. The bank should have worked with the family to have them lead in announcing the man's passing. They should then follow. That shows they are according him maximum respect. 

2. What is Access Family? Is it an entity registered on law or some alias on the street? Why is it appearing in a formal document?

3. Carelessly chosen typeface. Very conservative, showing lack of attention to finesse and style. Isn't that Times Roman or Arial? Their advertising agency would never have recommended it. This type of fonts are used by organizations that are not attentive to quality, you can quote me. See something like Malgun Gothic, or even Calibri, for example and compare documents from very attentive organizations. And then, you don't have to underline a header that is already written in caps. It makes your document look busy and full and hard to read. 

4. The issue of succession should not have appeared in this terrible and sad announcement. It should have conveyed only one message and one message alone - the passing of the chief officer and a guide to mourners on how they can express their sympathies on a register. You can release stuff about your succession policy 24 hours later in a separate document. This batching of issues make it smell like the company and its money are more important than life itself."

Michael Effiong James

"Life will surely continue..BUT aas that necessary?. It looks a bit incentive to me but I am told it is standard practice to show that there will be a smooth transition and avoid offloading of shares."


John Ogunlela excellent points made! I like your detail! As a PR Comms person, I fully see same. Indeed a sad event to be debating these issues, but the communications people should have served them better! However don’t forget one thing: as a Bank the issue of trust and confidence comes up - and the business continuation element is cardinal! Hence the mention of succession. May they rest in perfect peace ! 🙏

Ikem Okuhu 

I am horrified by the statement issued by Access Bank on the death of Wigwe.

You don't do marketing with the death of your CEO!

Lemmy Ughegbe 

The bit about succession was unnecessary because it's consequential and anyone knows that. And even if there was a need to announce it, it shouldn't be in the same statement announcing his demise. 

Emotional intelligence would say defer the announcement of succession efforts for another press statement even if within 48 hours of the announcement of the CEO's death.


Chris Kehinde Nwandu is the Editor In Chief of CKNNEWS || He is a Law graduate and an Alumnus of Lagos State University, Lead City University Ibadan and Nigerian Institute Of Journalism || With over 2 decades practice in Journalism, PR and Advertising, he is a member of several Professional bodies within and outside Nigeria || Member: Institute Of Chartered Arbitrators ( UK ) || Member : Institute of Chartered Mediators And Conciliation || Member : Nigerian Institute Of Public Relations || Member : Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria || Fellow : Institute of Personality Development And Customer Relationship Management || Member and Chairman Board Of Trustees: Guild Of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria

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