Mary Vilakazi Appointed As FirstRand Limited First Female CEO

Mary Vilakazi's journey to the top of FirstRand has been marked by remarkable achievements and a diverse set of experiences. She began her career at the renowned accounting firm PwC.

Mary Vilakazi Appointed As FirstRand's First Female CEO - The Times Post
Mary Vilakazi Appointed As FirstRand's First Female CEO.

FirstRand Limited, one of Africa’s leading financial institutions, has made history with the appointment of its first female CEO, Mary Vilakazi.

This significant leadership change, effective from April 2024, marks a new era for the bank and a step forward in its commitment to transformation.

Mary Vilakazi’s journey to the top of FirstRand has been marked by remarkable achievements and a diverse set of experiences. She began her career at the renowned accounting firm PwC, where she honed her skills in auditing financial service entities.

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Her exceptional talent and dedication led to her becoming one of the firm’s youngest partners in 2005. Throughout her career, Vilakazi has demonstrated strong business acumen and an entrepreneurial spirit.

In addition to her role at PwC, she has been involved in various entrepreneurial projects, including running an advisory services firm. Her extensive experience includes serving in multiple executives and non-executive directorship positions, as well as being the deputy CEO and CFO of MMI Holdings.

Vilakazi’s journey with FirstRand began in 2018 when she joined the company as the Chief Operating Officer (COO). In this role, she oversaw the group’s operations and played a pivotal role in diversification strategies in insurance and investment management.

She also served as an executive director and trustee of the FirstRand Empowerment Foundation.

Recognized for her exceptional work and leadership, Vilakazi was nominated as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2016. This prestigious nomination further solidified her reputation as a trailblazer and a visionary.

As the incoming CEO of FirstRand, Mary Vilakazi is committed to building on the bank’s success and driving its continued growth.

She believes that the private sector has a crucial role to play in creating value for society, and she aims to foster collaboration with government and other social partners to achieve this.

In her statement welcoming the news, Vilakazi expressed her excitement about taking on the top leadership role at FirstRand.

She emphasized the bank’s portfolio of leading brands, top-quality talent, the culture of empowerment and accountability, and unwavering focus on creating value for shareholders.

“I am delighted to be entrusted with the responsibility of leading one of Africa’s largest and most profitable financial institutions,” Vilakazi said. “Under my watch, FirstRand will continue to thrive and uphold its commitment to excellence.”

The appointment of Mary Vilakazi as FirstRand’s first female CEO is a significant milestone for the bank and the financial industry as a whole. It represents a major step forward in promoting gender diversity and inclusivity in leadership positions.

With her impressive track record and visionary leadership, Vilakazi is poised to lead FirstRand into a new era of growth and innovation. Her appointment sends a powerful message about the bank’s commitment to empowering women and fostering a culture of equality.


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