South Africa’s FNB Seeks Black Candidate to Run Business Banking

First National Bank, the retail-banking unit of FirstRand Ltd., said it wants to find a black executive to replace Jacques Celliers when he steps down as head of business banking at the end of this year.

“The position he’s vacating -- we hope to fill it with a black CEO,” FNB Chief Executive Officer Michael Jordaan said in a phone interview from Johannesburg today. We are “committed to transformation -- it’s part of doing business in South Africa and it’s the right thing to do,” he said.

Celliers, 41, will take over from Jordaan, who announced his resignation two days ago after 10 years as FNB CEO.

South African companies are obliged to hire and mentor black people as part of an initiative that aims to redress some of the discrimination under the white-minority apartheid regime that ended in 1994. FirstRand’s Sizwe Nxasana became the first black CEO of one of South Africa’s four big banks in 2010.

“We think about our commitment to transformation all the time,” Nxasana said on May 22. While the process of finding a replacement for Celliers is just beginning, FirstRand “likes growing our own timber,” he said.

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