Chief (Mrs.) Cecilia Ibru, former Managing Director of Oceanic Bank, was one of the most respected bankers in Nigeria. But she suffered a reversal of fate when she was hit by ‘Hurricane Sanusi’, the banking sector reforms initiated by former CNB Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi in the wake of the global financial meltdown and banking sector crisis in Nigeria. Consequently, the influential banker was forced to crawl back into her shell, thus becoming a rarity on the social scenes.
At the event, she looked smashing in her Urhobo traditional attire, while her skin glowed like that of a new born. She didn’t betray any emotion of someone who had gone through hardship in the recent times, as she exchanged banters with some of the guests.
Oceanic Bank began as a small family-owned bank, but grew to be one of Nigeria’s largest publicly quoted institutions during Cecilia’s stewardship. She graduated from the University of London in 1971 with a B.Sc. in Sociology. She pursued her graduate studies at the university and received a Masters of Philosophy from the School of Oriental and African Studies in 1977.
In 1978, she joined the Ibru Organisation as Project Director. Two years after, she was appointed International Finance Coordinator, a position she held until 1990. She began working with Oceanic Bank in 1990 as General Manager and later promoted Managing Director and CEO.
Cecilia has a rich record of philanthropy with the creation of the Michael and Cecilia Ibru Foundation in 2006, which donates money to support vocational training, elderly care, health programmes, disease prevention and food production.