Home » Africa’s biggest lender appoints South African mogul Johan Burger as chairman

Africa’s biggest lender appoints South African mogul Johan Burger as chairman

by Omokolade Ajayi
Johan Burger

In a strategic move set to reshape the leadership of FirstRand, Africa’s most valuable financial services group, the board of directors announced the appointment of South African business magnate Johan Burger as the new chairman. The transition is scheduled to take effect on Dec. 1, 2023, as confirmed by the board.

Burger, a top figure in South Africa’s financial industry retired as FirstRand’s CEO in 2018 and later assumed a position as a non-executive director on the board. Burger’s forthcoming chairmanship marks a significant development in the company’s history.

This decision comes as Roger Jardine, the present chairman and board director, declared his intention to resign at FirstRand’s annual general meeting (AGM) on Nov. 30, 2023. Jardine expressed his desire to explore avenues for serving South Africa in different capacities, necessitating his undivided attention.

Burger’s appointment as chairman is anticipated to cement his legacy in the African financial services industry, as he continues to contribute to FirstRand’s growth, a financial services provider he played an instrumental role in its expansion.

His extensive knowledge of banking and financial services and his remarkable track record within the organization make him a fitting successor to Jardine. The board has expressed confidence that Burger’s appointment meets the necessary criteria for independence and competence.

FirstRand, with its diverse financial services portfolio encompassing FNB, RMB, WesBank, and Aldermore, maintains its stronghold as the dominant force in the African financial services sector, particularly in terms of market capitalization. The conglomerate operates actively in South Africa, the UK, and various regional markets within Sub-Saharan Africa.

As of the close of trading on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange on Thursday, FirstRand shares closed at R63.20 ($3.24) per share, marking a 135 basis point increase from their opening price on the local bourse.

This surge further solidified the group’s market capitalization, which now stands at over $18.2 billion, firmly establishing it as the most valuable lender on the African continent.

Burger’s minority stake in FirstRand, equivalent to 0.110 percent, translates to ownership of 6,000,000 ordinary shares at the current market price. This places his stake’s value at a substantial $19.4 million, further cementing his status among South Africa’s wealthiest individuals.

The board of directors at FirstRand, in announcing these developments, signals its commitment to continued growth and stability in the financial services sector, positioning the company for a dynamic future under Burger’s leadership. 

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