Absa needs a new CEO. Maria Ramos departs at the end of this month and interim chief Rene van Wyk is a placeholder for only a year. Analysts and company insiders agree that the chances of a white male getting the job permanently are slim to none. And relative youth will also be an important factor, as Absa's eligible retirement age is 60 and the bank will be looking for someone to fill the role for at least five years, but more likely about seven. The candidate also needs solid banking experience. Absa, which has had a decade of fading fortunes in its core South African market under controlling shareholder Barclays, is embarking on a fresh strategy to claw back market share. The new CEO will have to be willing to implement plans that have already been made. And she or he will have to take the reins by March next year and will most likely be introduced to the markets and the public when Absa's interim results are announced in September, a company insider said. Absa has said it is not...

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