Absa loses a CEO again

The market was in shock after Absa’s CEO Daniel Mminele was seemingly pushed out of the bank after just a year at the helm. The official line is that there was a disagreement over “strategy and culture transformation”. Insiders are saying that the bank’s board was blindsided by the abrupt resignation of its former CEO, the long serving Maria Ramos, in February 2019 and failed to do proper succession planning. They also seemingly expected the new CEO to simply implement Ramos’ strategy, without the freedom a CEO should have.

Mminele was the first black executive to lead Absa, after leaving his position as deputy governor at the South African Reserve Bank. He was very qualified and a man of integrity, as the bank itself was at pains to point out. Absa’s share price fell on the news of his departure. Polo Leteka Radebe, the president of the Association of Black Securities and Investment Professionals, told Business Day that the group is concerned about  “clandestine exits” of executives of colour as it builds into the “black is not competent” narrative. Consider the similarly sudden departure of African Bank CEO Basani Maluleke earlier this year. Maybe Radebe is right when she added: “If I was a young black professional I wouldn’t want to work in financial services as it seems it only ends up imperiling your career. No professional can succeed if their board doesn’t support them.” 😕 If you want to read more, the best take on this is Moneyweb here

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 15 April 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.