Absa has put forward one of its long-standing female executives, Cheryl Buss, to lead its recently-established international unit as it expands its global footprint beyond the UK.
The bank, which is finalising its split from Barclays after the British bank sold it in 2016, established its own representative office in London September 2018.
In October this year, it received the first regulatory greenlight to open another representative office in New York. Absa has said it expects all regulatory approval to be finalised within the next six months, and to have the New York office operational by then.
Buss will spearhead the bank’s ambitions to cement its own brand presence in these markets where its former parent company, Barclays, is a well-known player. Even though Absa moved its banking platform from the UK to SA as the split was finalised in June 2018, it retained its presence in the UK when it opened a standalone UK securities subsidiary.
But the opening of representative offices permits Absa to directly market its banking services and products as well to corporate and investment banking clients that have a presence in Africa or are seeking to expand into the continent.
On Wednesday, the bank said Buss’ responsibilities would include managing Absa Securities UK, but most importantly, she will lead the bank’s international operations in its efforts to enable a globally scalable business. It said Buss, who joined the bank in 2008, managed the separation of the Global Clients Africa from Barclays’. Global Clients Africa, the unit Buss managed, was launched in 2011, and strategically laid the foundation on which Absa International Coverage business was built.
Absa corporate and investment bank CEO, Charles Russon - the executive to whom Buss will be reporting - said she had the right qualities and experience to oversee the bank’s global expansion.
"The expansion of the position she is taking up will give the unit a singular focus and lead and underlines how serious Absa is about this side of the business," said Russon.
Apart from its representative offices in London and New York, Absa stated in its 2018 annual report that it also recommended to it board that it should enter into arrangements with third parties in both the UK and US.