PROFILE: From Auchi Poly to Oxford, Onyeagwu hits zenith of banking career

Tales of humble beginnings are not hard to come by in Nigeria and the story of Ebenezer Onyeagwu definitely fits the description.

Onyeagwu was announced on Monday as the new chief executive officer of Zenith Bank Plc, a position once occupied by Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Until now, he was the deputy managing director of the bank.

Here are things to know about the new MD of one of Nigeria’s largest banks

From Auchi Poly to Harvard

He started out as a student of accounting at the Auchi Polytechnic and obtained his ordinary national diploma (OND) in 1984 and higher national diploma (HND).

He qualified as a chartered accountant in 1989 while still undergoing the compulsory National Youth Service Corp (NYSC).

He also obtained a postgraduate diploma from the University of Oxford, England and has undertaken several executive-level education from Wharton Business School of the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia Business School of Columbia University, the Harvard Business School of Harvard University and the Lagos Business School of the Pan Atlantic University.

Fast riser

Onyeagwu began his banking career at the defunct Financial Merchant Bank in 1991 and moved to Citizens International Bank Limited until 2002 when he joined Zenith Bank as a senior manager in the internal control and audit unit.

Between 2003 and 2005, he rose to be the assistant general manager, then deputy general manager, and eventually general manager of the bank.

In his 17 years at the bank, Onyeagwu has occupied several positions including executive director of the bank in 2013 and put in charge of Lagos and south-south zones and sits on the board of Zenith Bank Ghana, Zenith Pensions Custodian Limited, Zenith Nominees Limited and African Finance Corporation (AFC).

Third director with the largest shares

In 2016, Onyeagwu increased his Zenith Bank shares to 5.5 million units from 3.1 million units.

This move made him the third on the list of directors with the most shares in the bank.