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Former FNB CEO joins Mxit

By , Editor, ITWeb Africa
South Africa , 30 Sep 2013

Former FNB CEO joins Mxit

The former chief executive officer of what has been dubbed the world’s most innovative bank is set to join one of Africa’s largest homegrown social networks, Mxit, as chairman of its board of directors.

According to a statement from Mxit, Michael Jordaan (pictured left) -- who this year resigned as CEO from South Africa’s First National Bank (FNB) -- replaces Roger Grobler, who remains on the Mxit board as non-executive director.

During Jordaan’s ten year tenure as FNB CEO, he led the bank to become the first financial institution in South Africa to launch a mobile app. He also led FNB to become the first bank in South Africa to sell smart devices such as iPads and Samsung Galaxy handsets.

In 2012, FNB was named the most innovative bank in the world by the BAI-Finacle Global Banking Innovation Awards.

But Jordaan joins Mxit at a time when the instant messaging service has lost its status as South Africa’s number one social network, according to research from World Wide Worx and Fuseware.

World Wide Worx and Fuseware has said that Mxit has 7.4 million users but that Facebook has grown to become the biggest social network in the country with 9.4 million active users, up from 6.8 million users a year ago

Controversy also dogged Mxit in late 2012 when its former CEO, Alan Knott-Craig Jr, suddenly stepped down over a difference of opinion with shareholders. Earlier this month, Francois Swart (pictured right) was named as Knott-Craig Jr’s replacement after Swart had served as acting Mxit CEO for almost a year.

Mxit is owned by investment incubator hybrid World of Avatar: an organisation that Knott-Craig used to head up. World of Avatar bought a 90% stake in Mxit in 2011.

World of Avatar’s co-shareholders include the family trusts of two founders of financial services company FirstRand Limited: Paul Harris and GT Ferreira. FirstRand Limited owns FNB.

Meanwhile, the former FNB CEO Jordaan, commenting on his appointment to Mxit’s board of directors, said, “It is difficult not to have a sense of pride about a home grown South African company making such an impact in the social media and mobile space.”

“It was an easy decision to join as chairman and I am looking forward to playing a part in the future of Mxit, both in South Africa and internationally,” he said.

Mxit CEO, Francois Swart, commented: “Michael’s appointment is a great coup for us. I am sure he has been inundated with offers, and to become part of the Mxit team is a vindication of the direction we have taken and the innovation that is happening within Mxit.”

Mxit shareholder Paul Harris said, “Having a business heavyweight of Jordaan’s calibre on the board of directors is no doubt a sign of great things to come from Mxit.”

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