A step in the right direction
This week, the Standard Bank group announced the appointment of Nonkululeko Nyembezi as the chairman-designate for the boards of Standard Bank and the Standard Bank Group, effective from June 2022. Nyembezi succeeds Thulani Gcabashe who served with some distinction as the chair of the Standard Bank boards. The bank has over the past decade, established itself as the eminent leader in pan-African financial services. Its success is reflected in its market capitalisation and its strong presence across African markets. Quite notably, the bank has also made significant strides in transforming its executive leadership pipeline and its board.
Nyembezi’s appointment comes at a critical time for the financial services sector as it navigates through unprecedented challenges in an unpredictable world. In the South African context – which represents the home of Standard Bank and its primary market – the issues relating to business and social leadership require leaders who have an intimate appreciation of the unique nature of the South African landscape. As a former leader of Arcelor-Mittal SA and chair of the boards of Alexander Forbes and the JSE, Nonkululeko has an appreciation of the challenges associated with running an organisation whose public interest transcends its workforce and affects society at large.
As ABSIP, we have noted that Nyembezi’s appointment marks the first time that a large, listed bank is led by an African female as its chairperson. Such a turn of events reflects the truncated transformation journey that South African banks and large corporates, in general, have traversed in trying to live up to their commitment to excellence and transformation.
The recent appointments of Nonhlanhla Mjoli-Mncube as a lead independent director of ABSA and Emrie Brown as the CEO-designate of the Rand Merchant Bank indicate that the financial services sector is moving in the right direction towards giving excellent and capable female leaders an opportunity to lead organisations. As ABSIP, we remain in support of such initiatives and wish to extend our congratulations to Nonkululeko Nyembezi, Nonhlanhla Mjoli-Mncube and Emrie Brown on their appointments.
10 May 2022