JOHANNESBURG – Nedbank Group Limited on Wednesday announced that Ciko Thomas, the current managing executive of consumer banking, will next month succeed group managing executive for retail and business banking (RBB), Philip Wessels. When Ingrid Johnson gave up the position to take on the role of group finance director at Old Mutual Plc, Thomas was originally pinpointed as one of her likely successors.
Subject to regulatory approvals, Thomas’s appointment will take effect on April 1, following the request by Wessels to take early retirement for “personal reasons”, Nedbank said. Nedbank CEO, Mike Brown said during a Google Hangout on Wednesday that Wessels wants to spend a lot more time with his family. “We respect his choices to do that,” Brown said, noting that although it comes two years earlier than expected, “Ciko is ready to take over”.
Wessels was appointed to the position in August 2014, following Johnson’s decision to take the top finance job at Nedbank’s parent.
“This [Wessels’s retirement] will be effective from March 31 2016, some two years ahead of his normal retirement age of 60. Philip has had a long and successful career at Nedbank spanning more than 20 years across various businesses in the group. We thank Philip for his contribution to the group and wish him well in his retirement,” the group said in a stock exchange filing.
When Johnson – credited for turning Nedbank’s retail and business banking unit around – left the division’s top position, it was widely expected that either Thomas or Sandile Shabalala, managing executive of business banking, would take over from her.
Both Shabalala and Thomas worked closely with Johnson and were viewed as natural successors, making the appointment of Wessels, who was chief risk officer at the time, somewhat of a surprise.
Thomas has been part of the RBB leadership team and the group executive committee for six years.
“Ciko’s appointment ensures continuity in RBB’s leadership and strategy, and he inherits a strong RBB cluster with an experienced management team,” Nedbank said.
Brown said Thomas’s appointment is a “fantastic” one for Nedbank.
Thomas completed the Harvard Advanced Management Programme in 2015, and holds BSc and MBA degrees, Nedbank said.
The banking group said on Wednesday that headline earnings for the 12 months to December 2015 increased 9.6% to a record R10.8 billion. Non-interest revenue increased 7.1% R21.7 billion, underpinned by commission and fee income growth of 7.3% to R15.6 billion, Nedbank said.
Nedbank’s rest of Africa earnings climbed 93.6% to R691 million. The group’s return on equity fell slightly to 15.7% (2014: 15.8%).
Gross loans and advances increased 11.2% to R681.6 billion, with main banked clients growing 8.5% to 2.7 million.
The group declared a full-year dividend per share of 1 107 cents, 7.7% ahead of the prior year.