The chief executive of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr Ebenezer Onyeagwu, has added another feather to his highly colourful cap as he was conferred with a doctorate degree over the weekend by the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN).
It was gathered that the respected and brilliant banker was conferred with a doctorate degree in Business Administration in recognition of his immense achievements as the head of the tier-1 Nigerian lender and his contributions to the growth of the financial services sector in Nigeria and across the African continent.
At the 50th convocation ceremony of the school on Saturday, March 25, 2023, the Vice Chancellor of UNN, Prof. Charles Igwe, congratulated Dr Ebenezer Onyeagwu for distinguishing himself in his career and for his service to humanity, which made him worthy to receive the prestigious Doctorate Degree from Nigeria’s first indigenous University.
In his acceptance speech, the banking executive expressed his gratitude to the institution for finding him a worthy recipient of the Doctorate Degree in Business Administration, considering the very rigorous process of selection of awardees by the school.
“For me to have been considered and to have passed through the meticulous selection process makes it the more dignifying because I have no connection with the university,” he said, noting that the award represents a validation of the outstanding corporate governance, ethical leadership, and overall outstanding performance that Zenith Bank is recording.
Dr Onyeagwu dedicated the award to the board and management of Zenith Bank, especially the founder and Chairman, Dr Jim Ovia, who he said has remained a mentor, a leader and a source of inspiration to everyone at the bank and beyond; the staff.
He praised him for being the shoulder and proverbial base of the pyramid upon which his achievements and success as CEO of the leading financial institution in Nigeria rest.
The Zenith Bank chief also commended Zenith Bank’s customers for their unflinching loyalty to the brand; and to his family for their unceasing love and support.
Presenting the citation of Dr Onyeagwu to the assemblage at the 50th convocation ceremony for the conferment of the degree, the orator of UNN, Dr Ikenna Onwuegbuna, noted that the banker is an alumnus of Auchi Polytechnic, the University of Oxford, England and Salford Business School, University of Salford, Manchester, United Kingdom, Delta State University, Abraka.
Also, he is an alumnus of Wharton Business School of the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia Business School of Columbia University, and the Harvard Business School of Harvard University in the United States.
Dr Onyeagwu is a Fellow (FCA) of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM), The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), the Institute of Credit Administrators (ICA) and Senior Associate Member, Risk Management Institute of Nigeria (RIMAN).
He is also the Chairman of the Body of Banks’ Chief Executive Officers, Nigeria and Chairman of Zenith Pensions Custodian Limited and Zenith Nominees Limited. He is also on the Board of Zenith Bank (UK) Limited, FMDQ Holdings Plc and Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF).
Dr Onyeagwu is a member of the International Monetary Conference (IMC), the Wall Street Journal CEO Council, member of the African Trade Gateway Advisory Council of the Africa Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), and member of the Governing Council of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).
He also served on the board of Zenith Bank Ghana Limited, Zenith General Insurance, Zenith Securities Limited, Zenith Assets Management Company, Zenith Medicare Limited, and Africa Finance Corporation (AFC).
His track record of excellence has also seen him win several individual awards, including being named Bank CEO of the Year (2019) by Champion Newspaper, Bank CEO of the Year (2020, 2021 & 2022) by BusinessDay Newspaper, CEO of the Year (2020 and 2021) – SERAS Awards, and CEO of the Year (2022) – Leadership Newspaper.
Other recipients of Doctorate Degrees at the 50th convocation ceremony were the former Governor of Delta State, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, who was conferred with the Doctor of Public Administration, and the Chairman of Hobark International Limited, Dr Obiora Fubara, who received the Doctor of Business Administration. A retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Justice Mary Odili, was conferred with the Doctor of Law; however, her conferment was deferred to a later date because she was unavoidably absent at the ceremony.