Standard Bank goes ‘customer-centric’ in executive revamp

South Africa - Durban - 17 May 2019 - Standard Bank Musgrave branch in Durban closed permanently on 29th June 2019. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency(ANA)

South Africa - Durban - 17 May 2019 - Standard Bank Musgrave branch in Durban closed permanently on 29th June 2019. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Oct 29, 2020


JOHANNESBURG - Standard Bank Group Ltd. is revamping its management structure and starting new business units to better meet the needs of its customers and generate fresh sources of revenue.

From 1 January, the Johannesburg-based lender will split into three core-client segments: consumer and high-net worth clients; business and commercial clients, and a wholesale clients business, Standard Bank said in an emailed response to questions on Wednesday.

“These organizational changes will ensure that we increasingly show up as a single, unified entity with an integrated view of each of our clients,” Chief Executive Officer Sim Tshabalala said in the statement.

“The financial world is evolving rapidly. We’re focused on ensuring that we remain relevant by offering more of the services and solutions that our clients need.”

Standard Bank, which operates across 20 African countries, is digitizing its systems to fend off fintech firms encroaching on its customer base. At the same time, it’s having to contend with increasing competition in its home market, where a recession and high unemployment is pushing financial-services companies into selling more products to existing clients.

The lender is responding by fast-tracking the execution of this strategy with the internal changes, according to the statement.

Poor Score

Standard Bank’s shares have fallen 34% this year, compared with a 36% slump in the six-member FTSE/JSE Africa Banks Index. The lender’s South African retail unit’s net-promoter score, a common measure of customer loyalty, was one of the worst among banks in the 2019 South African Customer Satisfaction Index by Consulta, a firm specializing in customer-experience management.

“Standard Bank’s biggest criticism in recent years is its net-promoter has been low, so it is probably trying to be more customer-centric,” Nolwandle Mthombeni, an analyst at Mergence Investment Managers, said.

“Just because you have changed the structure doesn’t mean the culture has changed.”

Margaret Nienaber, who previously headed the wealth-management business, will run a new division called client solutions, which will deal with cost-effective plans for banking, investments and insurance, the bank said.

“These solutions will also be sold to third parties, creating new opportunities and new revenue streams,” Standard Bank said.

Here are other changes:

  • Former CEO of personal and business banking for South Africa, Funeka Montjane, will lead the consumer and high net-worth clients business
  • Zweli Manyathi has been named head of business and commercial clients. He is former CEO of personal and business banking
  • The CEO of wholesale clients is Kenny Fihla, who was head of corporate and investment banking
  • Adrian Vermooten, the former head of direct banking in personal and business banking for Africa, has been appointed chief innovation officer

The group’s other executives are:

  • Sim Tshabalala, CEO of Standard Bank Group
  • David Munro, CEO of Liberty
  • Sola David-Borha, CEO of Africa Regions
  • Lungisa Fuzile, CEO of South Africa
  • Alpheus Mangale, chief engineering officer
  • David Hodnett, chief risk and corporate affairs officer
  • Arno Daehnke, chief finance and value management officer
  • Rod Poole, chief change and business transformation Officer
  • Sharon Taylor, chief people and culture officer
  • Thulani Sibeko, chief brand and marketing officer


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