Time's up: Stephen Koseff, outgoing CEO of Investec Bank, attendubg his final annual year results presentation in Sandton, May 17 2018. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA/BUSINESS DAY
Time's up: Stephen Koseff, outgoing CEO of Investec Bank, attendubg his final annual year results presentation in Sandton, May 17 2018. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA/BUSINESS DAY

After 40 years at the helm of Investec, in which he took the obscure finance leasing company started by Ian Kantor in 1974, to a financial institution straddling SA and the UK that oversees assets equivalent to R4-trillion, Stephen Koseff stepped aside as CEO at the end of September 2018. 

In part one of this extended interview, Koseff is a touch ambivalent about whether he really wanted to go, but makes it clear he is not retired yet: “I am still here in a suit and tie.”

He explains what is keeping him busy including his various board roles at Investec, Bidcorp and the Youth Employment Service.

In part two , Koseff explains how the specialist bank had to recover from the global financial crisis and why its “in pretty good shape.”

He also rebuts criticism that the bank has not delivered large enough earnings growth in the wake of the crisis.

In part three , Koseff describes the “outright, outright panic” that engulfed bank executives during the midst of the crisis and how US treasury secretary, Hank Paulson “saved the world”.

Despite having steered the ship through the global financial crisis, Koseff still believes the small bank’s crisis in the early part of the previous decade was the closest he ever came to closing the doors at Investec, and why he thinks the lessons he learnt while writing a thesis in the 1970s “saved this place a couple of times”.

In part four, Koseff explains how he thought former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste was able to dupe an entire market; where he would like to see Investec in the next 20 years; and why he thinks SA is at a turning point.