Just a week ago, Maria Ramos was at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, seemingly entrenched in her role as the CEO of Absa. During an interview with the FM, she gave no clue that within days of returning to SA, that would change. On Tuesday, Ramos revealed that after a decade at the bank, she felt it was "the right time to retire" at the end of February, for two reasons. First, she turns 60 on February 22, and second, the divorce from Barclays is complete and "our new strategy as a standalone financial institution in place". Ramos said in Davos that she’d had three big careers: first as director-general of the National Treasury in Nelson Mandela’s administration; second as the CEO of Transnet until 2009; then as CEO of Absa. Does she have the passion to embark on what would be a fourth? Perhaps alluding to what was coming less than a week later, Ramos spoke about her status, with Nedbank CEO Mike Brown, as one of the country’s longest-serving CEOs. Her 10-year reign...

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