one but two CEOs to fill the void left by the recently departed Jacko Maree. This is an arrangement that the chairman admits is complex, but working well after the f irst month of it being instituted. Also, he says, he doesn’t need to be physically in the group’s Johannesburg office all the time.
“What has changed is that during Derek ’s t i me Sta ndard Bank was engaged in a broad emerging-market expansion strategy – our focus now is more organic,” says Phaswana, whose pay-off for having extraordinary working f lexibility is that his life is organised with military precision.
Standard Bank determines its board schedule in August every year, his diary then goes to his wife for the inclusion of family commitments and is coordinated then with the requirements of the group Company Secretary and is looked after by a dedicated PA.
“People underestimate the power of technology,” says Phaswana, who maintains multiple homes – one in Belgium, a family residence in Cape Town, useful for Naspers board meetings, and an apartment in Johannesburg; all are wired with high-speed Internet access to give him instant connectivity to the Standard Bank network and staff intranet. They each have storage for sets of identical Taylor Made and Callaway golf clubs too. The fourth, built on his late mother’s land in Limpopo, has no telecommunications access at all. It’s the place he goes to think without fear of interruption and where he retreated to when contemplating t he complexities of t he recently announced executive overhaul of the group.
“Last year I spent 46% of my working time physically at the bank,” says Phaswana, but you have to keep in touch daily to make sure that you stay on top of all the issues.”
Therefore, no matter where he is in the world, the f irst two hours of every