Michael Jordaan quits FNB, considers future in tech

Michael Jordaan has stepped down as chief executive officer (CEO) of First National Bank (FNB), saying he is considering a business in innovation and technology in Cape Town.

The FirstRand Limited board made the announcement yesterday that Jordaan was stepping down and Jacques Celliers, a member of FNB’s executive committee, will take his place as FNB CEO at the end of this year.

Speaking to HumanIPO, Jordaan said his time with FNB provided him with “huge personal growth, intellectual stimulation, personal sacrifices, [and] deeply gratifying.

He said he was not certain of his next venture yet, but is “deliberately taking time to think [of] the big picture”. He did say, however, it would be within “innovation and technology”, and that he was looking to spend more time in Cape Town than Johannesburg.

When asked why Cape Town has more startup opportunities than Johannesburg, Jordaan said: “[The] world is getting flatter and flatter. Physical location [is] less relevant. The Cape certainly has access to [a] good skills base in technology terms [while] Joburg has energy.”

Since FNB has won awards as the most innovative bank in terms of technology and applications with the most popular banking website in Africa while under his leadership, Jordaan said this “public recognition provides confidence, but I have deep belief that Moore’s law is changing [the] world in ways we do not yet fully comprehend”.

He said using technology as much as possible within the banking industry is as crucial as the finance. “We are in essence a technology firm with a human interface (at heart).”

When asked if his position as CEO would have a positive influence on his next venture, Jordaan said: “Yes and no. Huge learnings from running a large corporate, but corporates can be bureaucratic and risk-averse. Entrepreneurs move fast and take risks.”

In conclusion, Jordaan said he hopes “being CEO of FNB is not the first line in my obituary.”

Posted in: Startups

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