David Hodnett. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL
David Hodnett. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL

Barclays Africa’s widely expected management shake-up, part of a strategy overhaul following Barclays plc’s exit, has raised questions over deputy CE David Hodnett’s future.

Hodnett, 48, was to take a two-month sabbatical, Barclays Africa said on Monday. No further detail was provided on his post-sabbatical future, however, leaving the door open for a change in his role and raising questions about whether he may leave altogether.

As the group splits into four core businesses, each with its own CEO, South African banking, previously under Hodnett, would cease to be a management or reporting segment.

The corporate and investment bank would remain under Hodnett, Barclays Africa said.

An asset manager who declined to be named said: "It would be pretty bad news if Dave left. For a while he has been the de facto person running the business."

Hodnett’s sabbatical did not come as a surprise, given the weight of the responsibility he had carried during the past 18 months, said Neelash Hansjee, a portfolio manager and analyst at Old Mutual Equities.

He had played a critical role in delivering traction in the retail and business bank (RBB) and driving culture change, he said.

Barclays Africa will change its name back to Absa Group in May, as part of a multiyear divorce from Barclays Plc first announced in March 2016.

With its former British parent’s shareholding now reduced to 15%, Barclays Africa CEO Maria Ramos unveiled her now unfettered banking group’s strategy on March 1.

The bank is targeting a doubling in its share of Africa banking revenues to 12%. This would require it to grow its revenue a considerable 153% by 2022, if McKinsey’s prediction that banking revenue on the continent will reach $129bn by then is to be believed.

The new group structure, announced on Monday, has four core businesses: RBB SA; corporate and investment banking (CIB); wealth, investment management and insurance (WIMI); and rest of Africa.

Arrie Rautenbach, currently the bank’s chief risk officer and head of strategy, is to head RBB SA. Arguably the greatest casualty of the Barclays Plc era, RBB remains the group’s largest business unit, making more than half the group’s earnings in 2017. Fixing it is a priority for Ramos.

"Time will tell if [Rautenbach] can guide risk appetite in the right direction and lend appropriately while being competitive enough to … maintain share in an environment with more competition," said Hansjee.

The corporate and investment bank remains under the joint leadership of Temi Ofong and Mike Harvey, who will report to Ramos while Hodnett is on leave.

Peter Matlare, deputy CE of the division, remains responsible for the rest of Africa, and Nomkhita Nqweni continues as WIMI CEO.