Global banking giant Barclays pulled a coup of sort in its attempt to bed down its venture into the African continent via South Africa by poaching high profiled executive Kennedy Bungane from Standard Bank Group.
Barclays announced yesterday that it has appointed Bungane as Chief Executive of Barclays Africa and the Head of Africa Strategy. “In this role, Kennedy will be responsible for all operational and business activities outside South Africa for both Barclays and Absa. In addition, he will lead business strategy across Africa for Absa (including South Africa) and Barclays”.
There have been indications that Barclays which acquired a controlling stake in local banking group Absa in 2007 had been struggling to bed down the integration of its Africa operations with those of Absa. Barclays’ One bank in Africa strategy is yet to inspire market confidence as a result of constant reshuffling of Absa executive team.
Barclays added that “Bungane will report directly to the Absa Group Chief Executive, Maria Ramos. He will chair the Barclays Africa Executive Committee and will be a member of the Africa Executive Committee and Absa Executive Committee, subject to regulatory approval”.
“We look forward to Kennedy’s contribution in realising our ambition of becoming the go-to bank in Africa,” said Ramos
While the Bungane appointment may inspire confidence in Barclays One Bank in Africa strategy, it also has a potential to cause confusion in the market. Barclays had named Ramos as chair of the Africa Exco towards the end of last year. The description of Ramos title in yesterday’s announcement does not help the situation. She is described as Chief Executive of Africa, Barclays and Absa Group Chief Executive.
Bungane moves from Standard Bank where he had risen to become Chief Executive of Corporate & Investment Banking at Standard Bank of South Africa since 2009. He moves to the Barclays at the beginning of July.
Bungane has extensive experience in financial services. He started his career in retail banking at Standard Bank and Real Africa Durolink Investment Bank. During his 20-year tenure at the Standard Bank Group, he held a variety of senior positions, including Head of Global Markets Sales, Head of Institutional and Corporate Banking and Deputy Chief Executive of Corporate and Investment Banking for South Africa.