re­veals a lot

Finweek English Edition - - Cover -

the group through what’s likely to be a treach­er­ous 2009. He’s un­der no il­lu­sions the cur­rent six-month pe­riod will be tougher than the pre­vi­ous six months of last year, and that could very well im­pact the full year re­sults as well.

Now 46, Booy­sen had been open about the fact he didn’t in­tend spending the rest of his work­ing ca­reer at Absa and had in­di­cated pub­licly he saw him­self serv­ing be­tween five and seven years as CEO. His five-year ten­ure would have ended in Au­gust this year.

When Maria Ramos in­di­cated she’d had her fill of Transnet and was serv­ing as head of that pub­lic util­ity on a rolling con­tract once her five-year term ex­pired last year, Absa chair Gill Mar­cus ap­proached her to run the bank­ing group – an ap­point­ment that was al­ways go­ing to be con­tro­ver­sial, es­pe­cially since she was in­tend­ing to, and sub­se­quently did, marry SA’s Fi­nance Min­is­ter Trevor Manuel, the man who at least for now has fi­nal over­sight of the coun­try’s fi­nan­cial sec­tor.

What now for Booy­sen? He hasn’t re­ally had time to con­sider his op­tions. The global fi­nan­cial melt­down has meant he and his ex­ec­u­tive team have had to fo­cus on cri­sis man­age­ment at the group’s op­er­a­tions on a daily ba­sis. The fact Bar­clays plc brought for­ward its re­sults to quell con­cerns in its own mar­ket about its fu­ture vi­a­bil­ity also meant its 2008 fi­nan­cial year needed to be wrapped up much more quickly than had been ex­pected. There’s been very lit­tle time for detailed in­tro­spec­tion and re­flec­tion.

Booy­sen won’t com­ment on ru­mours he’s been of­fered a job at Bar­clays – nor will he say whether he’s in­ter­ested in tak­ing one up were it of­fered to him.

He’s on “gar­den­ing leave” for six months but avail­able to the bank should it need him. But he’s not ex­pect­ing to re­ceive many work-re­lated calls. “That’s not the way it works in bank­ing. Once you’re out you’re out,” he says.

Booy­sen, a for­mer pro­fes­sor of ac­count­ing with a doc­tor­ate and book on ac­count­ing stan­dards be­hind him, would be an at­trac­tive as­set to chair au­dit com­mit­tees on boards of large listed com­pa­nies. Would that be some­thing he’d be in­ter­ested in?

Con­sider the sec­ond verse of his cho­sen song: “Like a rhine­stone cow­boy Rid­ing out on a horse in a star-span­gled rodeo Like a rhine­stone cow­boy Get­ting cards and let­ters from peo­ple I don't even know

And of­fers comin' over the phone”

“We’ll see if any­body wants me,” he says.


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