Rautenbach is the group’s first internally appointed CEO since 2006 and hails from Absa’s retail and business banking (RBB) unit.
Absa’s move to appoint an internal executive to the top post and to steady the ship, comes as the banking group has had a tumultuous 2021 year from a board and executive level.
Last year Absa was rocked by the Sipho Pityana chairmanship debacle in November and the resignation of former Group CEO Daniel Mminele in April after a short stint in the role.
“The appointment follows a thorough recruitment and selection process completed by the Board,” Absa said in a statement.
“Arrie, who is currently Chief Executive of the group’s RBB unit… has more than 25 years’ banking experience, which includes serving as the group’s Chief Risk Officer, simultaneously providing executive leadership for the Group Separation Programme and Group Strategy Office,” the bank pointed out.
“His extensive experience in the banking sector, his in-depth knowledge of Absa through several executive roles over the years, and his experience and strengths in strategy development and execution for the group, positions him ideally to lead the group at this time.”
Absa’s interim CEO Jason Quinn will resume his position as Group Financial Director with immediate effect, the bank said.
Previous Absa roles that Rautenbach has held include Chief Executive of Retail Banking, Managing Executive of Absa Card Division and Managing Executive of Distribution. He began his career with Absa Group at Bankfin in the late 1990s.
Absa Group’s outgoing chairperson, Wendy Lucas-Bull, expressed delight in announcing the appointment of Rautenbach as the group’s CEO.
“I am confident that his leadership will provide the continuity and stability necessary to consolidate our purpose and strategy,” she said.
“I know that the group is in good hands under Arrie’s executive leadership as I hand over the reins of the board chairmanship to Sello [Moloko], who takes over on 1 April 2022,” added Lucas-Bull.
Moloko, Absa Group chairman designate, said: “Arrie’s appointment will anchor our performance and growth, as we consolidate our position as a leading financial services provider on the continent. Arrie is aligned with the Board on our organisational imperatives, including talent management and transformation.”
“The Board looks forward to working with Arrie and the executive to ensure a Pan-African financial services group that creates sustainable value for all its stakeholders.”
Rautenbach said he is “humbled and honoured to lead Absa during challenging conditions” both on the local and international front.
“I am excited at the prospect of working with a talented and diverse team, leading an outstanding business that is positioned to seize the many opportunities that lie ahead.
“I look forward to working with the Board and the executive in consolidating our strategy and performance, driving organisational and cultural transformation, and delivering financial and social value for all our stakeholders, and sustainable future growth and returns for Absa and its shareholders.”
Meanwhile, Punki Modise will step down as Interim Financial Director of Absa Group and Absa Bank and as an executive director of the Boards, with immediate effect. She will take the position of interim Chief Executive: RBB and remains on the group executive committee.
Lucas-Bull thanked Quinn and Modise for their “significant contributions” as interim Group CEO and interim Financial Director, respectively.