Mary Vilakazi becomes first woman to head FirstRand

October 04, 2023

FirstRand has announced key leadership changes at the group, with both group CEO Alan Pullinger and FNB CEO Jacques Celliers moving on from their roles.

According to the group, Alan Pullinger will step down as group chief executive officer (CEO) and will be succeeded by Mary Vilakazi, currently group chief operating officer (COO).

FNB CEO Jacques Celliers will be stepping down and taking up a new role taking executive responsibility for the group’s fintech strategy. He will be succeeded by FirstRand group chief financial officer, Harry Kellan.

The changes will take effect from 1 April 2024.

Pullinger leaves a long and successful career at FirstRand, spanning 26 years, including the role of RMB CEO until his promotion to FirstRand deputy CEO in early 2015.

He became group CEO in early 2018 and, at the time of this appointment, indicated to the board a time horizon of six years. As such, succession planning for this role has been anchored to his expected departure in 2024.

Vilakazi joined FirstRand as group COO in 2018 from MMI Holdings, where she held the roles of chief financial officer (CFO) and deputy CEO.

As one of three FirstRand executive directors, she has worked closely with Pullinger on strategy execution and successfully led a number of key growth and diversification strategies.

“Vilakazi is close to the strategies and operations of the underlying portfolio of businesses through her membership of the executive committees and advisory boards of the operating businesses. As the CEO of the corporate centre, she has oversight of the key central functions of risk, compliance, treasury and audit,” FirstRand said.

FNB changes

After ten years as CEO of FNB, Jacques Celliers will take up a new role with executive responsibility for the group’s fintech strategy, which is to develop revenue streams from activities ancillary to financial services.

“Many of these activities have been built within FNB over a number of years, including, amongst others, the MVNO and the nav» lifestyle offerings, both of which are gaining traction with customers. The group believes this strategy now requires dedicated leadership to scale and grow,” it said.

During his tenure as CEO of FNB, Celliers led a successful customer-centric strategy, supported by an innovative technology build that resulted in FNB becoming the market leader for digitally enabled financial services.

“This track record means Celliers is uniquely placed to execute on the fintech strategy,” the group said.

Harry Kellan will take over as CEO of FNB after ten years as CFO of FirstRand.

Kellan joined FNB in 2005 and spent seven years as CFO, after which he was appointed FirstRand CFO in 2014. Mr Kellan’s long tenure at FNB prior to his group role positions him well to now lead the largest customer franchise in the portfolio.

As a long- standing member of the retail and commercial executive committee and the FNB advisory board, Mr Kellan has been involved in shaping many of the key strategies FNB is executing on.

Kellan will be succeeded as group CFO by Markos Davias, the current CFO of FNB.

Prior to transferring to FNB in 2020, Davias was CFO of RMB from 2015.

“Davias’s tenure as CFO of the two largest franchises in the group make him the ideal candidate for group CFO. He has worked closely with Mr Kellan for over a decade, and this will ensure a smooth and efficient handover,” FirstRand said.

Gideon Joubert, currently the CFO of the group’s broader Africa portfolio, will take over from Davias as FNB CFO; he will be succeeded by Taufeeqa Waja, currently the head of finance for the broader Africa portfolio.

The group also announced that current chairman, Roger Jardine, will step down at FirstRand’s AGM on 30 November 2023 and the board has appointed Johan Burger as chairman effective 1 December 2023.-bustech



Rate this item
(0 votes)

Joomla! Debug Console


Profile Information

Memory Usage

Database Queries