Home » Meet Sello Moloko, South African tycoon behind multimillion-dollar investment empire

Meet Sello Moloko, South African tycoon behind multimillion-dollar investment empire

by Omokolade Ajayi
Sello Moloko

Sello Moloko, a 58-year-old South African businessman, banker, and corporate executive, has solidified his status as one of South Africa’s most influential figures through his leadership at the helm of the pan-African financial services group, Absa Group, and his previous roles at prominent companies, including the telecom group, Telkom.

Recognizing opportunities across the African continent, Moloko is the visionary co-founder and executive director of Thesele Group, an all-Black diversified investment holding company with stakes in enterprises spanning financial services, logistics, automotive, ICT, energy and water infrastructure, as well as property development.

His journey to prominence began when he ventured into the financial services industry in 1992. Armed with a bachelor of science degree in mathematics and a postgraduate certificate in education from the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom, as well as invaluable experience from completing an advanced management program at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in the United States, Moloko was well-prepared for the challenges that lay ahead.

In his formative years within the industry, he seamlessly transitioned through diverse roles, ranging from portfolio manager to sharp-witted analyst. This rapid ascent up the ladder of success was undeniably impressive. Yet, what truly distinguished him was his exceptional talent for spotting opportunities and his resolute dedication to fueling growth. 

This unwavering commitment propelled him into the role of an esteemed director, where he has presided over the boards of industry giants like Telkom, Alexander Forbes, Sibanye-Stillwater Limited, and General Reinsurance Africa, a subsidiary of the renowned Berkshire Hathaway.

In 2003, the Association of Black Securities and Investment Professionals (ABSIP) honored him with the Financial Services Pioneer Award, recognizing his outstanding contributions to investment management. He later served as the association’s national president from 2005 to 2007.

One of the hallmark moments in Moloko’s career came in 2021, when Thesele Group, under his leadership, acquired Bidvest Car Rental from the publicly-traded Bidvest Group.

This strategic acquisition prompted a complete rebranding effort, aligning the newly acquired assets with the professional, innovative, and entrepreneurial brand identity of the group. The acquisition was executed through the Thesele Consortium, a joint venture involving Thesele Group, Hallmark Motor Group, and Mortimer Motors Group.

In the same year, Moloko was appointed as the independent non-executive director and Chairman-designate of Absa Group, one of South Africa’s premier financial services conglomerates. His appointment was a testament to his proven track record of leadership and strategic vision. Following in the footsteps of Wendy Lucas-Bull, Moloko took the helm as Chairman of Absa Group and Absa Bank in April 2022, ushering in a new era of leadership.

In his capacity, Moloko actively participates in the group’s key committees, including the Directors’ Affairs Committee, Risk and Capital Management Committee, Remuneration Committee, Social, Sustainability, and Ethics Committee, and Board Finance Committee. His leadership has been marked by a commitment to responsible corporate governance and a vision for Absa Group that extends beyond traditional banking.

Beyond his corporate roles, Moloko is a dedicated trustee of the University of Cape Town Foundation and an ardent advocate for various philanthropic endeavors. His position as chair of the Investment Committee at the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Thesele Foundation, and his service on the boards of M&G Investments and DG Capital underscore his commitment to the greater good.

Moloko stands as a beacon of hope in the fast-paced business world and financial services industry. His journey from humble beginnings to the pinnacle of corporate leadership is a testament to the potential for positive change within the African business landscape.

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