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It’s difficult not to feel some sympathy for Arrie Rautenbach, who, through little fault of his own, is the subject of considerable controversy after being appointed CEO of one of the largest banks in the country. Of course, the prospect of raking in the tens of millions of rands in remuneration every year that automatically come with that appointment will help to compensate for some of the anxiety he may be feeling, so we needn’t overdo the sympathy.

Presumably, Rautenbach can take comfort from knowing he must be an outstanding banker. If he weren’t, or if Absa’s directors’ affairs committee (DAC) didn’t think he was, they would not have risked the inevitable backlash. They could instead have opted to quietly continue with Jason Quinn’s temporary appointment and hope nobody noticed, until they eventually found a suitable black candidate...

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