Business Maverick


Absa rings the changes at board and management level

Absa rings the changes at board and management level
(Photo: Waldo Swiegers / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Banking giant Absa on Tuesday announced several shifts in its executive management structure, starting with the internal appointment of Arrie Rautenbach as group chief executive officer.

The appointment on Tuesday of Arrie Rautenbach as Absa’s group chief executive officer comes 11 months after the sudden departure of the bank’s first black CEO, Daniel Mminele, who resigned last year less than two years into the job. At the time, he cited differences with the board. Mminele was appointed as an independent non-executive director of Alexander Forbes in January this year and in February was appointed head of the Presidential Climate Finance Task Team.

Rautenbach, who was chief executive of the bank’s retail and business banking unit, is the first internally appointed CEO in 16 years. He brings 25 years of banking experience to the position, after starting his career at Bankfin in the late 1990s.  

absa ceo arrie rautenbach

New Absa CEO Arrie Rautenbach. (Photo: Supplied)

His experience includes previous roles as Absa’s chief risk officer, chief executive of retail banking, managing executive of Absa’s card division and managing executive of distribution. Rautenbach’s wide experience at the coalface and across different divisions of the bank will no doubt position him well as a CEO with an innate understanding of the various cogs within the business.

Under his leadership, Absa was awarded “Best Retail Bank in Africa in 2020” by The Asian Banker. He has also been named Retail Banker of the Year by International Banker magazine.

Interim CEO Jason Quinn resumes his position as group financial director with immediate effect. The outgoing board chair, Wendy Lucas-Bull, says she is confident that Rautenbach’s leadership will provide continuity and stability. She hands over the reins as chair of the board to Sello Moloko on 1 April.

Rautenbach says he is excited at the prospect of working with a talented and diverse team, leading an outstanding business that is positioned to seize the many opportunities that lie ahead.

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“I look forward to working with the board and the executive in consolidating our strategy and performance, driving organisational and cultural transformation, and delivering financial and social value for all our stakeholders, and sustainable future growth and returns for Absa and its shareholders,” he said. 

Punki Modise steps down with immediate effect as interim financial director of Absa Group and Absa Bank and as an executive director of the boards. She will take the position of interim chief executive for Absa’s retail and business banking and remains on the bank’s group executive committee (Exco).

The latest moves leave the Absa board looking a little paler, although there have been two new appointments to the board in the past six months. These include the new chair, Moloko, in December and John Cummins in November last year. BM/DM


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  • Sydney Kaye says:

    Is this a welcome sign that corporations are beginning to make senior appointments without being intimidated into it being a black one come hell or high water.Business made a mistake in pandering to BEE and trumpeting every black appointee as though it was the best thing since sliced bread, instead of fighting it tooth and nail.

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