Lola Cardoso

Executive Leadership Program - Amsterdam Class 14

Lola Cardoso
Chief Digital and Innovation Officer
My experience and deep interests:
I am based in: Lagos

Moving to Nigeria in August 2013 with my family, brought a bag full of mixed emotions. Considering my passion for travel, love for family and culture, and insatiable appetite for new experiences, all stars appeared aligned. On the other hand, there was a consistent voice asking “are you sure?” from close family and friends who questioned my decision. They asked “What about your career at A.T. Kearney?”, “What will you do?”, “When will you be back?” and on and on. Finally, with my family, lots of optimism and excitement and an opportunity to do different, I relocated to Lagos, Nigeria and joined Union Bank of Nigeria (UBN) as its Group Head of Corporate Strategy.

Considering my global experience serving clients (management consulting, investment banking) in developed, emerging and frontier markets, I was not overly concerned about my ability to adapt and hit the ground running. My focus was on how I could translate my experiences and expertise to make a difference and transform an almost 100-year old bank into a modern organization delivering consistent returns with the right people and platforms.


Fast forward five years, I have contributed significantly to the transformation of UBN and I am very proud to be part of the new Union. I see the reward of my hard work every day as the bank continues its positive growth momentum. Beyond my contributions, I have evolved significantly from a leader among leaders in a leading global management consulting to an atypical leader in one of Nigeria’s longest standing and most respected financial institutions. My experience at UBN and in Nigeria, has not only reinforced my passion for results, but helped me realize that humility and my authentic concern for people is the ultimate driver of success and loyalty. I discovered that I truly thrive in a culture that empowers its people; encourages entrepreneurship, and provided the runway for me to develop and test the plane and importantly taxi down the runway, take-off and fly (and land if needed).

Today, as I embark on the new journey of driving digital and innovation in a 100+ organization with the objective of delivering value to all stakeholders, I am more conscious of creating sustainable impact for the future of Nigeria. Leading the charge on our digital strategy and investments, I am increasingly driven to pay it forward for future Nigerians and across the larger society including women, youth and those who are not active participants in the Nigerian economy. The challenges in Nigeria around convenient and financial access as well as financial literacy are clear opportunities that my leadership in partnership with a larger ecosystem can tackle leveraging digital and other innovations.