Rob Rose Editor: Financial Mail

Maria Ramos has been trying to leave Absa for years. She first wanted to resign in 2016, but Barclays asked her to stay to sort out the "separation" as the British bank wanted to reduce its stake in Absa to below 54%. She did that, even wringing R12bn out of Barclays as a divorce "settlement" along the way. This week Ramos drew the line, saying she will retire in February as she turns 60. "It had never been my intention to stay this long‚ as I have always believed that a CEO’s tenure should allow for a regular refresh." Absa’s board, chaired by Wendy Lucas-Bull, began looking for a replacement in May 2018, and compiled a shortlist months ago. It seems the board has largely decided who it wants, but that person still needs to be green-lighted by the SA Reserve Bank. Lucas-Bull says: "We feel confident that we’ll be able to make an announcement by the time we go to market with our half-year results." But that’s only in August — a long time for the bank to kick its heels in purgatory. ...

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