Absa appoints Lucas-Bull to chair its board

 Banking group Absa has roped in veteran business woman Wendy Lucas-Bull (59) to serve its board as non-executive Chairman.

This will come to place women as the top two in South Africa’s largest banking operation in addition to Maria Ramos who serves as CEO. The move might also dispel fears that Absa was slowly and entirely being swallowed by its London based parent company Barclays. A series of resignations at Absa executive levels have caused speculation that local executives were being purged.

Lucas-Bull will succeed Garth Griffin who will have served on the Absa board for 11 years, including the last two as its Chairman, when he retires from his Absa Board, Board committee and other Absa positions on March 31, 2013.

Subject to regulatory approval, Ms Lucas-Bull will take up the position on 1 April 2013.

Absa said Lucas-Bull has extensive banking experience and expertise as a director on company boards across multiple industries in the private and public sectors. She comes straight out of the Nedbank board where she served as an independent non-executive director group since 2008.

Ramos said “I would like to thank Garth for his leadership and his significant contribution to the Absa Group over the last 11 years. He will be missed by his Absa colleagues. I am very pleased that Absa has made this appointment. I look forward to working with Wendy, who has gathered vast experience in the financial services industry – both as a highly successful practitioner as well as an accomplished non-executive director.”

Brand Pretorius, chair of the special directors’ affairs sub-committee responsible for finding a new Chairman said “The appointment of Wendy is the outcome of an intensive 9-month search process co-ordinated by a special Directors’ Affairs sub-committee. Both international and local candidates were considered. In our opinion Wendy is well equipped for the task ahead as she possesses the requisite leadership competence, as well as the in-depth knowledge of financial services from both a strategic and operational perspective.” Wendy Lucas-Bull said “I believe in the people and the potential of Africa; and I believe that Barclays and Absa together can deliver on the opportunities that present themselves, for the benefit of all our stakeholders. The combined Barclays and Absa franchise opens the door to these opportunities and I look forward to taking up the position as Chairman of the Absa Group at a time when the business is on the cusp of a journey to become the Go To bank in Africa.”

Antony Jenkins, CEO of Barclays Group said “Africa offers a huge opportunity for Barclays through Absa and our other businesses across the continent. I would like to thank Garth for all he has done forAbsa over his 11 years on the Board and most recently as Chair as we have moved to bring the Absa and Barclays businesses across Africa closer together. I know that in Chief Executive, Maria Ramos and with Wendy Lucas-Bull succeeding Garth, we have a leadership team to take Absa to the next level of delivery for its customers, clients and shareholders.”

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