Standard’s joint chief executive steps down

Ben Kruger will step down as joint chief executive of Standard Bank with immediate effect‚ the banking group said yesterday.

The joint chief executive structure‚ “which was necessary in 2013‚ has met and in many respects exceeded expectations”‚ Standard Bank said in a statement.

Kruger would remain an executive director of the company and a member of the board‚ reporting to group chief executive Sim Tshabalala.

Tshabalala would also remain chief executive of Standard Bank SA. Tshabalala, 49, who describes himself as “a Zulu boy from Soweto”, joins only a handful of black executives at the helm of one of the country’s Top 40 bluechip companies.

He is the second black person to run one of the top five South African banks after Sizwe Nxasana took the reins for five years in 2009 at rival First Rand in a sector often criticised by politicians for a lack of diversity.

Tshabalala, a lawyer, was appointed alongside Kruger in 2013 to sharpen the company’s Africa focus and clean up a costly blunder by then chief executive Jacko Maree to try to turn Standard Bank into a major emerging markets lender.

The market at the time met the joint chief executive structure with scepticism.

It seems‚ however‚ to have worked for the bank‚ which reported an 11% rise in half-year profit for the six months to June.

The period was not without challenges‚ with the bank having to endure losses on metals financing fraud in China and a R300-million loss from credit-card fraud in Japan.

Since 2013‚ Standard Bank has also dialled down its global expansion plans‚ electing instead to focus on Africa.

“The resounding success of the joint group chief executive structure is testament to the group’s culture and values‚ which include working in teams‚ respecting each other and upholding the highest levels of integrity,” group chairman Thulani Gcabashe said.

Kruger’s new role will include a mixed bag of responsibilities including, among others, contributing to management of Africa regions‚ guiding the continued digitisation of the group and broadening its relationship with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

– BusinessLIVE, Reuters

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