Pretoria News

African Bank reels in new CEO once shunned by Absa’s Maria Ramos

Seasoned banker Kennedy Bhungane has ‘proven track record’

- Additional reporting Sandile Mchunu SECHABA KA’NKOSI

AFRICAN Bank yesterday announced the appointmen­t of seasoned banker Kennedy Bhungane to steer the ship after the abrupt departure of former chief executive Basani Maluleke over the direction of the institutio­n.

Bungane takes over at a difficult time as the lender posted a net loss after tax of R27 million for the year to end September compared to a profit of R1.20 billion reported a year earlier.

Bhungane left Absa, one of the country’s top banks, in an apparent fallout with then-chief executive Maria Ramos in 2014.

A former Absa executive who refused to be named said that Bhungane left after it became clear that there was a purging of some in the leadership who did not agree with Ramos. At least four executives left Absa at the time.

“Bhungane was believed to be the next in line after Ramos,” said the former executive. “However, he was also an independen­t thinker who took no prisoners.”

Among the casualties of the apparent purge was another rising star in Absa who was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2011.

The alleged purge was eventually discussed with the ANC top echelon and resulted in Ramos not being invited to the party’s business forum, which hosted literally every influentia­l executive with sympathies to it.

Business Report can today reveal that current Absa board chairperso­n, Wendy-Lucas Bull, is already said to have had a fallout with current chief executive and former SA Reserve Bank deputy governor Daniel Mminele.

African Bank appointed its chief financial officer, Gustav Raubenheim­er,

as an acting chief executive after Maluleke’s resignatio­n while it searched for a permanent replacemen­t.

The bank achieved a return on equity (RoE) of -0.3 percent compared to 11.6 percent a year earlier.

The bank, like most lenders, had to contend with Covid-19 and deteriorat­ing macroecono­mic conditions in South Africa, which has hit its balance sheet.

African Bank chairperso­n Thabo Dloti said Bungane had a keen sense for managing complex stakeholde­r issues.

“He has a proven track record in identifyin­g and nurturing leadership, which promotes strong teams to deliver successful results, Dloti said.

“His passion for the role that banking can play in transformi­ng society resonated strongly with the board.”

African Bank said Bungane brought diverse investment and strategic experience as the founder and non-executive chairperso­n of Nokeng Telecoms as well as the founder and chairperso­n of Idwala Capital. Most recently he was chief executive of Phembani Group.

An industry analyst who opted to remain anonymous said Bungane had the right credential­s to lead the bank going forward.

“African Bank offers an opportunit­y to join a dynamic and enthusiast­ic team of colleagues in building the bank into a fully-fledged platform of personalis­ed financial services and solutions to our customers.

“I believe I can play a meaningful role in the ongoing growth and transforma­tion of the bank and continue to position it as a significan­t competitor within the South African financial services landscape,” Bungane said.

 ?? MBOKAZI African News Agency (ANA) SIMPHIWE ?? AFRICAN BANK offices in Midrand. The bank has appointed a new CEO.
MBOKAZI African News Agency (ANA) SIMPHIWE AFRICAN BANK offices in Midrand. The bank has appointed a new CEO.
 ??  ?? Kennedy Bhungane
Kennedy Bhungane

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