(Bloomberg) -- Standard Bank Group Ltd. has named a female Black person to chair Africa’s biggest lender by assets for the first time.
Nonkululeko Nyembezi has been appointed as Chairman-designate effective June 1, according to a statement on Tuesday. She replaces Thulani Gcabashe, who will retire after the annual general meeting on May 31.
“It is hugely significant to us that the Standard Bank will shortly have its first female chairman, and that this chairman is a black African woman,” Chief Executive Officer Sim Tshabalala said.
Nyembezi has previous served as chairman of the JSE Ltd., South Africa’s main stock exchange, and was previously the CEO of steel firm ArcelorMittal South Africa Ltd.
The appointment comes as South Africa’s financial sector comes under increased pressure to expand the inclusion and diversification of members of boards and top management. Last month, Public Investment Corp., the nation’s biggest and most influential investor, criticized Absa Group Ltd., the third-biggest bank, for choosing a White man as its CEO.
“It’s a great, positive step for transformation for the banking sector,” said Nolwandle Mthombeni, a banking analyst at research and consulting firm Intellidex. “Hopefully we can work toward bringing in new and different faces for board appointments in future so that transformation can be even more meaningful.”
Standard Bank shares climbed 1.5% as of 10:07 a.m. in Johannesburg.
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