Simon Ridley retires - CFO of the Year 2014 to leave Standard Bank

Standard Bank Group CFO Simon Ridley will retire next year April. By then he will be 60 years old, the retirement age for executive directors at the bank. On Friday joint CEO Ben Kruger said Standard Bank has not decided on Ridley's successor yet. During the same press conference Ridley announced that the Group has achieved R10.5 billion headline earnings for the group.

Previously, Ridley told me that Standard Bank probably has two or three strong candidates for his succession. He also noted that many divisional CFOs would rather go into business than following a part of 'career CFO'. According to Ridley retaining leadership candidates is very hard - even for a big organisation like Standard Bank. It is usually not about money, but about exposure and space for individuals to develop.

Ridley was elected CFO of the Year in 2014, during the first ever CFO Awards. Earlier this year he gave a key note speech during the 2015 CFO Awards, in which he reflected on the role of modern CFOs and gave a great endorsement of CFO South Africa. Ridley knows the CFO role in South Africa as no other, having a quarter century experience as Finance boss of first Absa and later Standard Bank. "Busting the myths" is one of the most important tasks of a CFO, he says.

Ridley is also a great proponent of simple language in business:

"You always need to think as a shareholder with little time for waffle. In fact, when I try to explain stuff I always ask myself if my mom as a non-banker would understand what on earth I'm talking about, and a lot of people in Finance at the bank now seem to do the same! The question is always 'Would Simon's mom understand this?"

  • Standard Bank Group CFO Simon Ridley was the winners of the CFO of the Year Award 2014. Next year's CFO Awards will take place on 12 May 2016, once again at the Summer Place in Johannesburg. If you would like to buy a table, join the panel of judges or become a partner you can email Jurrien Morsch. Attendance is free for members. Visit CFOawards.co.za.
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