Michael Jordaan is leaving First National Bank after 10 years as CEO to pursue his passion for technology and entrepreneurship.
FNB parent FirstRand Group announced on Wednesday that Jordaan would step down at the end of the year, with the head of the bank’s business banking arm, Jacques Celliers, to take the reins from January 2014. Celliers has said the bank has no intention of losing its focus on technology innovation.
Jordaan was appointed as FNB’s CEO in 2003 and, during his tenure, has used technology to set the bank apart from its rivals.
“I’ve been commuting for five years,” Jordaan said at a media conference in Sandton on Wednesday. “I want to spend time reintegrating with my family and I want to travel. There are 193 countries in the world and I haven’t seen all of them.”
Jordaan said he’s particularly interested in looking into “innovation technology” in his travels and intends visiting technology hubs such as Silicon Valley in California and Tel Aviv in Israel.
“I want to be active in the entrepreneurial space. I don’t know what that means yet. It’s a rapidly changing space,” he said, adding that whatever he does, it won’t be in financial services.
“We’re in an era of dramatic change. I want to figure out how I can make a contribution. It could be investing or it could be mentoring. I’ll have time to really think about it now.”
Jordaan said that the “day-to-day demands” of running a big bank had meant he hadn’t had much time to consider his options.
Under Jordaan’s leadership, FNB has positioned itself as a tech-savvy bank. It was the first South African bank to launch a transactional banking application, and subsidises smartphones and tablet computers for its customers in order to enable them to use the app. This has helped it drive down costs by reducing the need for customers to visit branches.
FirstRand CEO Sizwe Nxasana said at the same media conference that Jordaan would continue to be involved in “various parts of the group” and would assist in ensuring a “seamless handover” to Celliers.
Celliers, who described himself as a “farm boy who can speak Zulu”, said the bank would continue to “take innovation very seriously” and that consumers should expect “more of the same” from the bank.
“What we’ve achieved across many platforms is accessibility,” he said. “That’s something we’ll focus on and give a lot of attention to.” — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media