Mary Vilakazi Becomes The First Female CEO of FirstRand

In a significant leadership reshuffle, Vilakazi, currently the Chief Operating Officer (COO) at FirstRand, will assume the role of Chief Executive Officer (CEO), succeeding Alan Pullinger. The board officially announced these changes on Wednesday.

These appointments are set to take effect from April 1, 2024.

Alan Pullinger, who has been an integral part of the FirstRand group for 26 years, including serving as RMB CEO before becoming FirstRand’s Deputy CEO in early 2015, took on the role of Group CEO in early 2018.

As part of the transition process, Pullinger will step down as an executive director at the end of March 2024. However, he will continue to be actively involved with the group until the end of June 2024.

Vilakazi joined the FirstRand group as COO in 2018, having previously worked at MMI Holdings, where she held the positions of CFO and Deputy CEO.

The board expressed its delight in appointing a highly qualified internal candidate to the role of Group CEO.

“As one of three FirstRand executive directors, Ms Vilakazi has worked closely with Mr Pullinger on strategy execution and has successfully led a number of key growth and diversification strategies, including the expansion and improving profitability of the broader Africa portfolio and scaling the insurance business.

“Ms Vilakazi has a deep knowledge of the strategies and operations of the underlying portfolio of businesses. She is a member of the group strategic committee, the executive committees and advisory boards of the operating businesses and the group’s financial resource management committee.

She is also the CEO of the corporate centre, a role that requires oversight of the key central functions of risk, compliance, treasury and audit.”

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