Absa Group, a South African financial services conglomerate, has announced the appointment of South African executive Arrie Rautenbach as CEO and executive director of Absa Group and Absa Bank, effective immediately.
Rautenbach, who has been with Absa since 1997, is a seasoned retail banker with more than 25 years of experience in the South African and African financial services industries.
He is currently Absa’s chief executive of retail and business banking and previously served as the group’s chief risk officer, providing executive leadership for the group separation program and group strategy office.
While commenting on the appointment, the board stated that Rautenbach’s extensive experience in the banking sector, combined with his in-depth knowledge of Absa gained through several executive roles over the years, as well as his experience and strengths in strategy development and execution for the group, positions him ideally to lead the group at this time.
The appointment, which will see him succeed Interim CEO Jason Quinn, will allow him to chart the post-pandemic expansion phase of the leading financial services group, as the group moves to build on its robust financial performance in 2021 despite headwinds in its operating environments.
In accordance with the recent arrangement, Quinn will return to his role as financial director, while Punki Modise, the interim finance director, will become interim head of retail and business banking.
In 2021, Quinn led Absa Bank as interim CEO to a 195.2-percent increase in headline earnings from R6.04 billion ($399.3 million) in 2020 to R17.83 billion ($1.18 billion), which is significantly higher than its pre-COVID-19 level of R16.3 billion ($1.08 billion) in 2019.
The triple-digit percent increase in earnings was fueled primarily by the economy’s recovery, as well as Quinn’s management initiatives, which produced the expected results for the leading lender.
The strategies resulted in significant pre-provision profit growth for the bank as well as lower impairments, with the group’s credit impairment losses falling by 59 percent from R20.57 billion ($1.36 billion) in 2020 to R8.5 billion ($562.1 million).
The group’s total assets increased by seven percent at the end of the reporting period, from R1.53 trillion ($101.2 billion) to R1.64 trillion ($108.5 billion), reflecting an eight-percent increase in net loans and advances and a 23-percent increase in investment securities, as excess liquidity was deployed in treasury bills.
Quinn became the group’s interim CEO after Absa’s first Black CEO Daniel Mminele left the bank due to a misalignment between the board and Mminele on strategy and management decisions.