Meet Roger Jardine: New FirstRand chairman – and campaigner for democracy

EDINBURGH — The FirstRand group has appointed Roger Jardine, a former civil servant and outspoken campaigner for democracy as its successor to Laurie Dippenaar – who retires after playing a key role in building the organisation into South Africa’s biggest lender by market value. Roger Jardine picks up the mantle as chairman as FirstRand pushes ahead with ambitious plans to grow outside the country through acquisition. Political instability and suppressed economic growth as a result of corruption and poor policies have sparked the move to identify fresh opportunities in the UK and elsewhere. Jardine will resign from his role as Primedia CEO. – Jackie Cameron

FirstRand chairman and founder Laurie Dippenaar to retire in 2018

Roger Jardine appointed as successor

FirstRand Limited today announced that Laurie Dippenaar will retire as board chairman and director effective 31 March 2018. He will be succeeded by Roger Jardine who will resign from his current position as Chief Executive Officer of Primedia effective 31 March 2018.

Mr Jardine has served in a non-executive capacity on various group boards for 13 years. Prior to joining the FirstRand Limited board in 2010, he served on the FirstRand Bank board for six years. He was appointed chairman of the Directors Affairs and Governance Committee in 2007 and has been a member of the Large Exposures Committee since 2004.

Left to right – GT Ferreira, Paul Harris and Laurie Dippenaar

Commenting, Mr Dippenaar said that FirstRand was fortunate to have someone of Mr Jardine’s experience and calibre on its board:

“Roger has served alongside me as a non-executive director since 2010 and has demonstrated he has all of the necessary business insight and leadership skills to chair the board going forward. The length of his tenure ensures a seamless succession process” he said.

Mr Jardine said, “It is a great privilege to become chairman of FirstRand. My time as a non-executive has provided me with a strong appreciation of the quality and resilience of the group’s businesses. I look forward to my increased involvement with the board and management as the group has some exciting growth strategies and I believe FirstRand is well positioned to continue its track record of delivering superior returns to shareholders.”

FirstRand had previously indicated that retired chief executive, Sizwe Nxasana, would return to the group as non-executive deputy chairman during 2017 to succeed Mr Dippenaar as chairman in 2018. Mr Nxasana’s various civil society and investment activities have, however, placed extensive demands on his time and he has confirmed to FirstRand that he could not commit to the role of non-executive chairman.

Sizwe Nxasana

“We respect Sizwe’s decision,” said Mr Dippenaar, “and we acknowledge the important contribution he is making to the South African education sector.”

The board would like to thank Mr Dippenaar for his long and distinguished service to the group. He was one of the founding members of FirstRand, served as group CEO from the creation of FirstRand in 1998 until he stepped down in 2005. He was appointed as non-executive chairman in 2008 and, in total, has been a member of the FirstRand Limited board for 19 years. Under Mr Dippenaar’s chairmanship, FirstRand has navigated many challenges with resilience and has consistently produced strong growth in shareholder value.

Who is Roger Jardine?

Here’s what Primedia says about its non-executive chairman:

Roger Jardine was born in Riverlea, Johannesburg. He trained as a physicist, obtaining a Bachelor of Science (BSc) from Haverford College in 1989, Pennsylvania (USA), and a Master of Science (MSc) in radiological Physics from Wayne State University in Michigan (USA) in 1991.

Roger Jardine: A masterclass in how to address corruption

In 1992 Mr Jardine became Coordinator of the African National Congress’ (ANC) desk on science and technology in Shell House, Johannesburg.

In 1995 he was appointed Director-General of the Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology. The portfolio included the oversight of national museums, science and technology institutions, funding policy for the arts, language policy and the National Archives.

He also served as Chairman of the Board of CSIR and the Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa (NECSA) between 1999 and 2005.

Mr Jardine joined Kagiso Media in June 1999 as Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

In November 2006, Mr Jardine assumed the role of Chairman of Kagiso Media and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Kagiso Trust Investments (KTI) (Pty) Ltd, the holding company of Kagiso Group.

In July 2008, he was appointed Chief Executive of the Aveng Group, a position he held until August 2013.

In February 2014, Mr Jardine joined the Primedia Group.

He is also a Non-Executive Director of FirstRand Limited and of The Sharks Rugby.

Roger Jardine: Outspoken about state capture and the abuse of former finance minister Pravin Gordhan. Listen here to why he has been an active campaigner for justice and democracy.