First black CEO takes over at Absa

Former Sarb deputy governor Daniel Mminele will take over from René van Wyk on January 15, and is the bank’s first black CEO.

From January 15, Daniel Mminele – former deputy governor of the South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) – will be the group CEO of Absa. This follows his six-month cooling-off period, a requirement in terms of Sarb policy.

Absa, the third-largest bank in South Africa, said in a statement on Monday that Mminele will take over from René van Wyk, who has been leading the bank on an interim basis since Maria Ramos’s retirement in February 2019. Mminele is the bank’s first black CEO.

Mminele is not an unfamiliar name in the financial sector. He has been with Sarb for 20 years, rising to become deputy governor and a member of key committees such as the Monetary Policy Committee and the Financial Stability Committee.

His responsibilities as deputy governor included various departments – the financial markets department, the international economic relations and policydepartment and the legal services and national payment system department – as well as oversight of the human capital cluster and operations cluster reporting to the chief operating officer.

In a message to staff, Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago said: “Deputy Governor Mminele has left an indelible mark on this fine institution and his contribution to the bank has been invaluable and immeasurable.”

Mminele, was born in Phalaborwa, went to school in Germany, and received a degree from London Guildhall University.

He went on to complete a Diploma in Banking at Sparkasse Paderborn in Germany in 1987, and spent eight years in various roles at the Westdeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale at its Düsseldorf and London offices. He continued his studies in the UK and obtained various certificates from the UK’s Chartered Institute of Bankers.

He returned to South Africa in 1995 and spent about two years each at Commerzbank, working as a customer relations manager in corporate banking, and at African Merchant Bank as a project and structured finance specialist in Johannesburg.

He joined Sarb in 1999, and has represented South Africa in several international forums such as the G20, Brics and the International Monetary Fund. He was also a regular participant in National Treasury’s international investor roadshows to promote South Africa.

Absa said interim CEO Van Wyk will step down on January 14 but will remain with the group as an executive director for handover purposes until January 31.