Absa Deputy CEO Peter Matlare has died from Covid-19 complications

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Peter Matlare.
Peter Matlare.
  • Absa's deputy CEO, Peter Matlare, died of Covid-related complications on Sunday. 
  • Before joining Absa in 2016, Matlare served in a number of high-profile roles, including as the CEO of the SABC and the head of Tiger Brands. 
  • His family has described him as a "consummate professional" who believed deeply in the potential of Africa, and who created opportunities for dozens of young managers and professionals.

Well-known businessman Peter Matlare, the deputy chief executive officer of Absa, has died from Covid-19 complications. He was 61. 

Matlare had a storied business career, serving as the CEO of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), the chief strategy and business development officer of Vodacom and later as the head of Tiger Brands, where he oversaw the expansion of the company into Nigeria and Kenya.

"Peter was a consummate professional, who made an immense contribution to business in South Africa and across the African continent.  He was passionate about transforming businesses, and believed deeply in the potential of Africa," his family said in a statement. 

"He also created opportunities for dozens of young managers and professionals to expand their horizons in the businesses he led.

"Family was a cornerstone of Peter’s life. He was a pillar of strength around whom the family coalesced. He used his talent and passion for cooking to regularly gather the family for Sunday lunches, and maintain deep connections in the family.  His support for family, friends and colleagues has left a lasting legacy."

Matlare was named as an independent non-executive director of Absa in 2011, and was appointed the banking group's deputy chief executive officer, with responsibility for banking operations in the rest of Africa, in August 2016.

“Peter was a seasoned corporate executive, a good leader, inspirational, and passionate about his work, always strongly invested in the success of our continent. I will miss his friendship, collegiality, guidance and wise counsel,” said Daniel Mminele, Absa's group CEO, on Monday'

As the head of Absa's regional operations, Matlare played a key role in the bank's separation from its former parent company Barclays, which included the rebranding of Barclays-branded subsidiaries as "Absa" in a number of African countries.

"By adopting the Absa name, we are leveraging our rich African heritage in order to drive relevant initiatives that will further unlock our continent’s potential, deepen regional integration and support accelerated growth," he said in February of 2020, after banks in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, and Tanzania, among others, were rebranded.

Matlare also attended the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on a number of occasions as part of Absa's delegation. In 2019, he wrote about his excitement for the continent's future. "Africa brims with potential with a young population and decades of productive life ahead of it. The continent has an abundance of natural resources and wealth," he said. 

Former public Protector Thuli Madonsela was among those to pay tribute to Matlare on Sunday. 

Michael Markovitz, who sits on the SABC board, said Matlare was a "consummate professional". 

United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa also expressed his condolences. 

Update: This article was updated on Monday, March 8 to include comment by Absa.  

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