BMF criticizes Absa board for not appointing black CEO

The Black Management Forum (BMF) has – through a statement released on Sunday – voiced its dissatisfaction with Arrie Rautenbach’s appointment as Absa CEO, saying Rautenbach’s appointment maintains ‘white male power’ in the bank.

“Both the CEO and the financial director roles have been filled with white males and the bank only has one African on its Exco,” BMF says.

Like the Public Investment Corporations (PIC), the forum has expressed transformation concerns around Rautenbach’s appointment. According to BMF, Rautenbach’s appointment is symbolic of South Africa’s corporate apathy towards transformation.

“The transformation trajectory of corporate SA is in reverse gear and existing power paradigms are being maintained.”

“These appointments highlight the existing biases and untransformed organizational culture, which is dominant at the senior and top management levels,” BMF adds.

Read: PIC wags finger of disapproval at Absa’s new CEO appointment

The BMF also criticized Absa’s predominantly black board for appointing Rautenbach and not ensuring that a black CEO be appointed instead.

“This appointment has been made by a predominantly black board which has not ensured that a black CEO be appointed.”

According to the BMF’s website, the forum is “a non-racial, non-partisan and non-sexist organization, focusing on the development of managerial leadership and the creation of managerial structures that are reflective of the demographics and values ​​of the broader South African society. ”

More investment in black business

Absa, who announced Rautenbach’s appointment last Tuesday (March 29), cited the new CEO’s extensive experience in the banking sector as well as his track record in business performance as some of the reasons qualifying his appointment.

Although the BMF has acknowledged the bank’s reasons for appointing Rautenbach, it says the banking group needs to take time to consider its transformation objectives moving forward.

Part of this, the BMF says, involves considering how the bank will invest in black businesses and leaders to help drive its transformation agenda.

“The bank needs to consider how it plans to fund black businesses and procuring from black businesses. This work is critical in driving the transformation agenda. ”

The forum further called for the lender to invest in grooming black professionals to take up strategic roles in the group.

“The bank needs to be deliberate in grooming black professionals for these roles, and when the time has arrived for black people to assume these roles, nothing should stand in their way.”

Another meeting on the cards

Just like the PIC, the BMF has also indicated that it intends to meet with the Absa board and CEO to not only understand the latest appointments, but also to understand the group’s plans to drive transformation moving forward.

Read: Arrie Rautenbach appointed Absa CEO with immediate effect

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