Standard Bank names Nyembezi as first black woman chair

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Standard Bank Group, Africa’s largest lender by assets, says it has appointed Nonkululeko Nyembezi as chair-designate of the group and the Standard Bank of South Africa, with effect from 1 June 2022.

The group said it has obtained the necessary Prudential Authority clearance for the appointment.

Nyembezi was appointed to the boards of Standard Bank Group and SBSA in January 2020 as an independent non-executive director. Her experience includes being both a board chairman and a member of board committees, with core expertise in strategy, planning, execution, governance and corporate stewardship.

Her previous roles include serving as chairman of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and Alexander Forbes Group Holdings, non-executive director of Old Mutual, CEO of ArcelorMittal South Africa, and non-executive director of Standard Bank Namibia.

Nyembezi is chairman of Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) and also represents corporate South Africa at international investment conferences including the World Economic Forum and the SA Tomorrow conference.

An electrical engineering graduate of the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (B.Sc.) and of the Californian Institute of Technology (M.Sc), Nyembezi also holds an MBA from the Open University (UK.)

Standard Bank Group chief executive Sim Tshabalala, said: “Our chairman-designate is a truly remarkable person. By every possible measure of experience, character, skill, and achievement, Ms Nyembezi is ideally suited to be the chairman of the Standard Bank Group.

Ms Nyembezi’s very strong – and directly relevant – academic background, great achievements as an industrialist and corporate leader, and her worldwide network of colleagues and peers combine to make her a very widely respected citizen of South Africa, Africa, and the world.

“Nku is exactly the person that Africa’s leading financial institution needs to lead our Board and govern our business. It is also hugely significant to us that the Standard Bank Group will shortly have its first female chairman, and that this chairman is a black African woman. This is a profound and historic strategic moment – at once a proud celebration of unquestionable excellence and a moment of restorative justice.”

Nyembezi takes over from Thulani Gcabashe. “It’s been a privilege to chair Standard Bank over the past seven years. The group has gained competitiveness, demonstrated impressive resilience, and upheld our commitment to maintaining the highest standards of corporate governance. I wish the Group and Nku very well and I have no doubt that she will be an outstanding chairman,” he said.

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