Home » Jason Quinn: First person ever to serve as CEO of two ‘Big Four Banks’ in South Africa

Jason Quinn: First person ever to serve as CEO of two ‘Big Four Banks’ in South Africa

Quinn's exceptional performance at Absa propels him to lead Nedbank

by Omokolade Ajayi
Jason Quinn

Holding an executive position at one of South Africa’s Big Four Banks — Absa Group, FirstRand Bank, Nedbank, and Standard Bank — is widely regarded as a significant achievement for financial professionals on the African continent.

However, South African banker and multimillionaire business executive, Jason Quinn has surpassed this milestone — and to top it all — he is poised to make history as the first person ever to serve as the CEO of two Big Four banks in South Africa.

Quinn, a leading business executive and high-performing banker with a degree in accounting and a Chartered Accountant qualification, spent 15 years at the Johannesburg office of Ernst and Young. Rising to the position of Partner, he subsequently joined Absa Group in 2008.

At Absa Group, Quinn swiftly established himself, serving as group financial controller for four years from 2012 to 2016. His career trajectory then led him to roles such as CFO of retail and business banking, and head of finance at Barclays Africa Group.

His stellar performance in these capacities solidified his standing as a top figure in South Africa’s financial services industry. In September 2016, Quinn joined the board of Absa Group Limited and was appointed Group Financial Director.

Jason Quinn’s legacy: A seven percent growth in Absa’s assets and notable financial milestones

Following the exit of Absa Group’s first Black CEO, Daniel Mminele, due to strategic and managerial disagreements with the board, Quinn assumed the role of Interim Group CEO in April 2021. He stepped down in March 2022 when Arrie Rautenbach was appointed as CEO and executive director of Absa Group and Absa Bank.

In 2021 — during his short stint as the CEO of Absa Group — Quinn led the group to a remarkable 195.2-percent increase in headline earnings from R6.04 billion ($399.3 million) in 2020 to R17.83 billion ($1.18 billion). This surge exceeded its pre-COVID-19 level of R16.3 billion ($1.08 billion) in 2019.

The triple-digit percentage increase in earnings was driven majorly by economic recovery and Quinn’s management initiatives, resulting in substantial pre-provision profit growth and lower impairments. The group’s credit impairment losses decreased by 59 percent from R20.57 billion ($1.36 billion) in 2020 to R8.5 billion ($562.1 million).

Under Quinn’s leadership, the group’s total assets rose by seven percent at the end of the reporting period — reaching R1.64 trillion ($108.5 billion), reflecting an eight-percent increase in net loans and advances and a 23 percent rise in investment securities, as excess liquidity was deployed in treasury bills.

Quinn’s exceptional performance at Absa propels him to lead Nedbank

Given Quinn’s performance at Absa Group, he emerged as the ideal candidate to succeed Mike Brown at Nedbank Group. On Nov. 22, 2023, the Nedbank Group and Nedbank Boards announced Quinn’s appointment as chief executive designate, pending regulatory approval — this announcement followed the succession process unveiled on June 2.

Upon completing his notice period with Absa Group, the 49-year-old multimillionaire business executive will assume the role of CEO upon Mike Brown’s planned retirement from the Boards at the close of the Nedbank Group annual general meeting scheduled for May 31, 2024.

Quinn, in reaction to his appointment, expressed excitement about the opportunity to work with the Nedbank team. He said, “I am excited about the opportunity to work with the Board, leadership team, and colleagues at Nedbank to build on the Group’s strong foundations.”

He added, “I have been encouraged by my interactions with the Board, and the leadership culture and purpose statement resonate strongly with me. I intend to build on those and the strategy, with the team, to deliver strong stakeholder value creation.”

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