Africa’s Biggest Bank, Standard Bank Group Ltd. appointed Sim Tshabalala as sole chief executive officer, ending a dual role he shared with Ben Kruger, and making him the first black person to lead Africa’s largest lender independently.
Kruger, 58, will step down as joint-CEO immediately and continue as an executive director, reporting to Tshabalala, 49, Johannesburg-based Standard Bank said in a statement on Tuesday. The joint leadership structure was necessary as part of the company’s management succession plan when it was introduced in March 2013, the lender said.
Tshabalala becomes the only black person to lead one of South Africa’s biggest banks since Sizwe Nxasana retired as the head of FirstRand Ltd., the second-largest by assets, in March 2015. President Jacob Zuma has criticized lenders, including Barclays Africa Group Ltd., for doing too little to boost black participation in their companies since apartheid ended in 1994. In the past decade, all but Nedbank Group Ltd.’s board regressed on racial diversity.
“The joint CEO structure worked very well,” said Adrian Cloete, banks analyst at PSG Wealth in Cape Town. “Most shareholders are usually comfortable with a single CEO, but I don’t think that this should be cast in stone. As the senior executives at Standard Bank have been together a long time and have a great working relationship, I don’t expect any major changes in strategy.”