Tshabalala and Kruger: It takes two to transition at Standard Bank
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Tshabalala and Kruger: It takes two to transition at Standard Bank

When Standard Bank ran into trouble during its plans for emerging market domination, the board decided it would take two chief executives to wrap up its global business and bring the bank back to its African roots. How can two co-CEOs pull together for one cause?

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Sim Tshabalala & Ben Kruger Standard Bank

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When both Ben Kruger and Sim Tshabalala were promoted from deputy CEOs of Standard Bank Group to co-CEOs in March 2013, it was a joint appointment made out of necessity. The group had been working through some big changes – and there were still more to come. The board didn’t believe that a single chief executive would be able to lead the bank through the transition. 

“It became very clear, very quickly that the world was changing,” says Kruger in an interview with Euromoney at the group’s old head office in downtown Johannesburg. “We expected to reap the benefits of the huge growth we were seeing by building up our business in other emerging markets. It was a harsh realisation that this wasn’t going to be the case and we needed to change our strategy.

The board thought that it would need two of us to take the bank in this new direction,” says Kruger. “It didn’t take them long to make this decision – we were both deputies at the time.

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