Executive Insights

Here’s what we know about Absa’s first black CEO Daniel Mminele - who received Germany’s highest honour in 2018

Business Insider SA
Daniel Mminele
  • Absa on Monday announced that former Reserve Bank deputy governor Daniel Mminele will be the bank’s new CEO.
  • Mminele will be the bank’s first black CEO. 
  • Mminele served two five-year terms at the Reserve Bank, and in 2018 received Germany’s highest honour. 
  • For more visit Business Insider South Africa.

South Africa’s third-largest bank Absa on Monday announced that former Reserve Bank governor Daniel Mminele would become the bank’s first black chief executive officer.

Mminele was first mentioned as a possible replacement for Maria Ramos in February when she announced she’d be retiring after a decade as CEO.

At the time, Ramos was replaced by René van Wyk as interim CEO, a former colleague of Mminele’s at the Reserve Bank.

Mminele, 54, retired from the Reserve Bank in June, 2019, when his second five-year term as deputy governor came to an end. 

He was required to serve a six-month "cooling off" period following his exit from the central bank which ends in January.

Here’s what we know about Daniel Mminele 

He was born in 1965 in Phalaborwa, but went to school in Germany and received a German banking qualification, and a degree from London Guildhall University.

After working in the banking sector in the UK and Germany, he returned to South Africa in 1995 to join Commerzbank in Johannesburg. He then briefly worked at African Merchant Bank,  before joining the Reserve Bank in September 1999

He served in the bank’s financial markets and international banking departments, before being appointed as deputy governor responsible for financial markets and international economic relations. 

Mminele was, among others, a member of the Reserve Bank’s monetary policy and financial stability committee.

He is married with two children.  

In January 2018, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier bestowed the Great Order of Merit to Mminele for his work in furthering German-South African relations.

The Great Order of Merit is the highest honour Germany can pay to an individual for services to the country.

According to a Pretoria News article, the German ambassador in South Africa described him as being half-German in "his life and his heart". The newspaper reports that he is known in the Reserve Bank as "the German" because of his punctuality and precision. 

Absa said its interim CEO René van Wyk would step down on January 14, but will remain with the Group as an executive director for handover purposes until January 31.

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