Markets cheer as Maria Ramos unexpectedly retires as Absa Group CEO

Absa CEO Maria Ramos in front of the new logo for Absa South Africa. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

I speculate she will end up as the Sars Commissioner.

Bruce Whitfield, The Money Show

Maria Ramos, Absa Group CEO, will retire at the end of February.

She becomes eligible for retirement on 22 February; on her 60th birthday.

Ramos has been CEO since 2009.

The Absa board has appointed René van Wyk as the Interim Chief Executive with effect from 1 March.

Van Wyk has been a non-executive director on the board since February 2017.

He was previously the Registrar of Banks at the South African Reserve Bank and retired from that position in May 2016.

Van Wyk was with Nedbank for almost two decades.

He was also CEO of Imperial Bank.

It had never been my intention to stay this long… My earlier intention to step down were curtailed by Barclays PLC’s 2016 decision to sell down their controlling stake, a unique set of circumstances that required continuity…

Maria Ramos, Absa

Ramos’ retirement came as a surprise.

Her resignation is unexpected and I don't know if it is for personal reasons but the markets seem to be liking the decision.

Kokkie Kooyman, Denker Capital

Last week Ramos announced new Nigerian investments while at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

She spoke to Bruce Whitfield on The Money Show, without so much as hinting at retirement.

By 5:11 pm on Tuesday, the Absa share price was up 6.08%

Whitfield interviewed Wendy Lucas-Bull (Chairperson, Absa Group) and Pippa Green (Author of “Choice, not Fate: The Life and Times of Trevor Manuel”.

Listen to the interviews in the audio below (and scroll down for more quotes from it).

She played a critical role in Treasury, transforming it…

Pippa Green

She knew Tito Mboweni before she knew Trevor… she shared accommodation with him… that relationship is quite interesting…

Pippa Green

That would be a logical thing to do [when asked if she would enter public service]…

Pippa Green

Maria had always set her sights on a seven-year term as CEO… All those milestones [which Absa agreed she should achieve before retirement] culminated in December.

Wendy Lucas-Bull, Absa

I think she really wants to take a little bit of a breather… I’m sure she’ll be playing a role in society… and we’ll hear a lot more from Maria Ramos…

Wendy Lucas-Bull, Absa

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