Questions over joint CEO

TRANSFORMATION agents and pressure groups reacted coolly to the news yesterday that a black,Picture: Supplied

TRANSFORMATION agents and pressure groups reacted coolly to the news yesterday that a black executive had been appointed as head of Investec Bank, alongside a white joint CEO.

The group, comprising Investec Limited and Investec, yesterday made board changes and a management succession announcement as Stephen Koseff, the entrepreneur who co-founded the Anglo-South African investment bank and asset manager, said he would step down as CE in October.

Fani Titi, who has been a non-executive director at the group since January 2004 and chairperson since November 2011, will be joint CEO alongside Hendrik du Toit, founder of Investec Asset Management from April 1.

Khumo Shuenyane, who has been a director of Investec for the past four years, will assume the chairmanship. The announcement received a thumbs-down from some quarters, saying it did not reflect true transformation. However, others applauded the move.

“Investec’s transformation has been among the worst in the banking industry and this move of giving Titi and Shuenyane jobs is not good enough. “Titi has a long history with the company and there is no reason why he should not have been given the whole job. This is an untransformed organisation,” Duma Gqubule, a transformation agent and founder of the Centre of Economic Development and Transformation, said.

Gqubule said the joint CEO move was a copy of what Standard Bank did three years back with the announcement of Sim Tshabalala and Ben Kruger as joint CEOs. “This is not the transformation that we want to see.” However, Koseff said the joint CEOs with their deep knowledge of Investec will put the company in an excellent position to keep up the momentum at the group.

Black Management Forum (BMF) deputy president Dumisani Mpafa said while celebrating the achievement at Investec, it was not enough as BMF wanted to see more black managers coming through the ranks at Investec. “Transformation is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight. “However, we will engage with Investec and see if they can’t do more,” he said.

He said Tshabalala after three years was allowed to fly solo at Standard Bank and hoped the same would be true at Investec. “The fact that they appointed a black person is transformation but will put more pressure on letting blacks fly on their own,” he said.

The Association of Black Securities and Investment Professionals (Absip), said they hoped the decision would set in motion a transition towards a sole black CEO.

The Black Business Council’s (BBC’s) CEO Kganki Matabane said they had congratulated Investec, but had already arranged a meeting for them to explain in detail Titi was not flying solo. “Why is Investec joining the bandwagon instead of giving a black person the whole company to run?” he asked.