Lungisa Fuzile. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL
Lungisa Fuzile. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL

Standard Bank has appointed Lungisa Fuzile as CEO for its South African unit. A former director-general within the Treasury, Fuzile will take over from Sim Tshabalala, who has served in the role since 2008.

"This appointment follows the recent changes to the group’s executive structure, which resulted in the disbanding of the joint group CEO construct," Standard Bank Group said in a statement.

Ben Kruger stepped down as joint CEO of Standard Bank Group in September, leaving Tshabalala as the sole head of Africa’s biggest bank by assets.

Kruger and Tshabalala took up their joint roles in 2013‚ following the retirement of Jacko Maree‚ who led the financial services group for more than 13 years.

Fuzile, who has spent 20 years in the public service, will report to the group’s CEO, Tshabalala.

Fuzile has no banking experience but his various roles at Treasury over the past two decades, including as deputy DG of asset and liability management, will serve him well. He would have played an instrumental role in setting the country’s R1.56 trillion 2017/18 budget.

He would also have attended a number of international investor road shows with Treasury, giving him a global network of investors.

The appointment signalled SA’s “coming of age”, whereby senior civil servants moved into business roles and vice versa, as was the case globally, said Standard Bank Group CEO, Sim Tshabalala. Fuzile had a “deep understanding” of the financial sector and strong managerial skills. “Managing the national treasury is a huge job. He had to set budgets and targets, and hold people accountable to these,” Tshabalala said.

Cas Coovadia, CEO of the Banking Association of SA, welcomed the appointment. Fuzile would be a “tremendous” addition to the bank and the sector, he said. His public sector experience would prove very useful, particularly in current challenging interactions between the sector and government. “I think the next two years are going to be just as choppy,” Coovadia said.

“We wish to congratulate the former Director-General of National Treasury, Lungisa Fuzile, on his new appointment as the chief executive officer of Standard Bank South Africa,” the DA said. “We wish him well in his new appointment and know he will make a huge contribution to the banking sector and to South Africa,” said the party's finance spokesman David Maynier.

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