LAWRENCE OF ARABIA
BANKING GROUP ABSA has lost two senior human resources executives in a matter of weeks. The resignations come amid one of the firm’s biggest corporate restructurings undertaken in recent years. However, outgoing HR director Lawrence Mlotshwa says there’s no crisis within the division. He’ll remain in his position till year-end, when he’ll join parent company Barclays plc’s emerging markets business headquartered in Dubai.
Absa’s recently appointed head of talent management, Phil Mnisi, is sacrificing his corporate ambitions to serve as deputy governor at the Swaziland Reserve Bank.
Their replacements haven’t yet been announced.
Sources tell Finweek Mlotshwa had been intent on leaving the group but had been convinced to join the Dubaibased business of Barclays, which relocated there from Johannesburg more than a year ago. But whether he’ll relocate his family there remains a bone of contention, as he’s eager to remain domiciled in SA.
Mlotshwa has been HR director for less than two years. He took over from Allan Fielder at end-2006, when he returned to Barclays after his secondment to Absa. The affable Mlotshwa had previously been head of organisational development. He sees new opportunity in the Barclays post. “I’ve been astounded by the level of talent in the banking sector in other parts of Africa – it gives me great hope for the continent,” he says.
It’s understood that Mnisi, who only joined Absa earlier this year after a stint as CEO of the Institute of Bankers, had been frustrated with the level of work he was given. He declined to elaborate on the reasons for his departure but described the move as exciting and offering “better prospects”. He is a former deputy MD of Standard Bank Swaziland and started his career as an investment project analyst at the Swaziland Industrial Development Company in 1992.
So far this year Absa has cut more than 60 general managers’ positions at head office and recently announced it would eliminate more than 400 more regional management jobs in its efforts to streamline its operations and make the group, which is controlled by Barclays, more efficient.
In July, Absa said it was putting a freeze on new posts and would allow natural attrition to streamline its staff numbers, as analysts forecast slower earnings for SA’s banking sector for the next 18 months.
No crisis. Lawrence Mlotshwa