Absa Group Board Ousts CEO Mminele Over Strategy Differences

PUBLISHED: Tue, 20 Apr 2021 13:53:38 GMT
Godfrey Mutizwa
CNBC Africa
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Daniel Mminele. Photographer: Ian Waldie/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Absa Group said Chief Executive Daniel Mminele will leave at the end of the month after differences with the board over strategy and culture, just 15 months after he became the bank’s first black CEO.

“It has become clear to the parties that there is non-alignment on matters of strategy and culture transformation,” the bank said in a stock exchange statement. It appointed Financial Director Jason Quinn as Interim CEO.

Absa has been trying to stop years of declining market share and improve performance after splitting from former British parent Barclays in 2017. The effort had started bearing fruit in the past year with the bank reclaiming market share in segments like mortgages where it had previously been the market leader.

“That’s a very short tenure and it doesn’t cast Absa in a good light to have a very senior, a very competent person just leave, just because of differences,” said Wayne McCurrie of FNB Wealth and Investments, who has Absa shares among the assets he manages on behalf of clients. “It just reflects poorly on the organization.”

The bank’s shares fell more than five percent after the announcement.

Mminele, a former deputy of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), took over as CEO in January 2020, succeeding Maria Ramos, a former director of South Africa’s National Treasury. He had spent 20 years at the SARB, serving in various capacities including financial markets.

“It is indeed regrettable that we should have had to part ways so soon on our journey. It is, however, important for the Chief Executive to be in complete alignment with the board on critical issues such as strategy and culture,” Mminele said in a press statement issued by Absa.

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South African newspaper Business Report reported that there was a heated discussion last week between the CEO and the board. Mminele had succeeded former CEO Mario Ramos who unexpectedly retired apparently after conflict with Chairwoman Wendy Lucas-Bull.

Earlier this year African Bank’s chairman and board ousted CEO Basani Maluleke over what some analysts speculated were also differences in strategy.