Standard Bank and Nedbank had better keep a close watch over their folds, what with Absa on the hunt for a new CEO. With no black executive within its own ranks yet ready to take over from outgoing CEO Maria Ramos, Absa will be knocking on the doors of competitors that have carefully groomed strong internal pipelines of black talent. That there is no natural successor to Ramos, who has chosen to retire at the end of February after 10 years at the helm, is demonstrated in the bank appointing nonexecutive director and former registrar of banks René van Wyk as interim CEO while it searches for its next leader. Internally, only Arrie Rautenbach, who joined Absa in the late 1990s and is now CEO of retail and business banking (RBB), could head the organisation. But he is a politically unpalatable choice. In a sector under scrutiny for its slow pace of transformation, appointing a white male to lead the bank would be seen as a step backwards. Rautenbach’s impressive deputy, Bongiwe Gangeni...

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