As reported by Business Day, February will be her last month, and René van Wyk, the Reserve Bank’s former registrar of banks, will step in as interim CEO until a permanent appointment is announced.
Ramos – who is the only woman in a CEO position at South Africa’s top 40 companies – said in a press release:
“It had never been my intention to stay this long, as I have always believed that a CEO’s tenure should allow for a regular refresh. My earlier intentions to step down were curtailed by Barclays’s 2016 decision to sell down their controlling stake, a unique set of circumstances that required continuity.”
She added that the decision to leave Absa was made with her “coming 60th birthday” in mind, and added: “I have made the decision to leave the position open for a new CE to lead the group on the next leg of its exciting journey.”
Ten years at the helm
Ramos was appointed as the Group’s CEO in 2009 and has taken Absa to new heights, including acquiring Barclays’s Africa subsidiary banks, as well as the separation from Barclay’s and establishing it as a standalone financial institution.
She considered retirement in 2016 but stayed on to facilitate the negotiations and to push the team towards the project’s key milestones. Now that the process is set in motion, Ramos feels it is the “right time to retire.” According to IOL:
“Under her leadership, Absa acquired Barclays’s eight African subsidiaries for R18.3 billion in 2013, the largest African acquisition ever by a South African bank. She led the separation negotiations with Barclays which resulted in a R12.6 billion upfront contribution plus R2 billion earmarked for black economic empowerment.”
René van Wyk to serve as interim CEO
Absa also said in the media release that they would announce a permanent appointment in due course. As her interim replacement, Van Wyk has 19 years experience with Nedbank, where he served as the Executive Director of Risk for Nedcor Investment Bank.
He also served as the Chief Executive Officer of Imperial Bank – a subsidiary of Nedbank – after occupying various positions within the Nedbank Group of companies between 1993 and 2011. Van Wyk has been a member of Absa’s board since February 2017.
Watch: Ramos speaking at the WEF about sustainable growth:
My parting conversation with outgoing Absa CEO Maria Ramos, four days ago, at the World Economic Forum. Listen to her thoughts about South Africa's economy and what needs to be done to ensure sustainable economic growth…#WEF2019 @cnbcafrica @Absa pic.twitter.com/KNE6qozfdw
— Fifi Peters (@FifiPeters) January 29, 2019