- David Munro will take a break from corporate life in March 2023.
- He has been with the Standard Bank Group for 27 years.
- He returned to the banking group as an executive in March after Standard Bank took over Liberty.
- For more stories, go to the News24 Business front page.
Former Liberty CEO David Munro is leaving the Standard Bank Group after 27 years. Munro returned to Standard Bank itself in March to oversee the integration of Liberty as the bank bought out minority shareholders and delisted the insurer from the JSE.
The bank said he has decided to take "a well-earned break from corporate life" from March 2023, after the successful execution of his last task.
"The group had reached a point where both the new insurance and asset management business unit and the commercial coordination initiatives had been handed over to the executives who will now lead them," said Standard Bank CEO, Sim Tshabalala. "As a result, the role of an integration executive has come to an end, and David has decided that this was the right moment for him to leave the group."
Tshabalala praised Munro's "exceptional leadership", pointing out that he helped the group navigate many challenges under extraordinarily difficult circumstances. Munro has held numerous positions in the group since he joined Standard Bank in 1996, including his role as the chief executive of Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB), helping that business navigate its comeback from the effects of the global financial crisis.
He also led the re-shaping of the group's international operations, leading the sale of 60% of Standard Bank Plc to ICBC and the formation of ICBC Standard Bank Plc.
But it was arguably his secondment as Liberty's fixer after its former CEO Thabo Dloti resigned with immediate effect that became the hardest task the bank gave him. He held the CEO post for just under five years but turned Liberty's financial position around.
When Munro came to Liberty, its earnings were on a downward trend, and the company was not running a very profitable operation either. Its new business margin stood at just 0.5% in the 2017 financial year. By the end of the 2018 financial year, Liberty's operating earnings before investment income grew by 42%. A year later, the insurer was again talking about a return to the growth phase.
"David and his new team led a strategic programme to re-invigorate the business and to improve its competitiveness," said Standard Bank, adding that he and his team helped Liberty reconnect with its heritage.
Tshabalala said that since 2004, Munro has consistently been central to developing and executing the group's purpose and strategy, leading business units that needed to be steered in the right direction.
"David's remarkable leadership capacities were fully matched by the depth of his expertise in many aspects of financial services and by the breadth of his strategic vision," added Tshabalala.