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Absa’s revival threatened by turmoil at the top

The surprise exit of Absa chief executive Daniel Mminele in April, only 15 months into the job, shows how much the South African group is still finding its way in the post-Barclays era. Mminele – Absa’s first black CEO – was seen in some quarters as losing a power struggle against an overwhelmingly white executive team. Can the next chief executive gain the authority to drive Absa’s revival?

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Daniel Mminele. Photo: Getty

Absa’s loss in late April of Daniel Mminele, its first black chief executive, has only served to emphasize how far South Africa still has to go in diversifying the senior ranks of its banking sector even after 40 years of democratic government. Mminele’s exit saw some more junior staff protesting, placards in hand, outside the bank’s headquarters. The damaging optics and disruption around the departure raise questions over why the decision was made and what comes next for the bank that only completed its separation from former parent Barclays last year.

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Dominic O’Neill is EMEA editor. He joined Euromoney in 2007 to cover emerging markets, focusing on central and eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, and later on Latin America. Based in London, he has covered developed market banking since 2015.
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