23 May, 2013 09:54

ZA Confidential Speaks to Michael Jordaan.

We caught up with the CEO of FNB Michael Jordaan to chat about his announcement that he is standing down at the end of the year, his future on twitter and his hope to create jobs in the future……

ZAC: Why are you stepping down when still so young, just 45?

MJ: 1 will have been CEO for 10 years, a good innings. Leaders should not hang in too long. I have been commuting from Cape Town for 5 years, and now have time to reflect on my life and plan the second half.

ZAC: FNB was in the spotlight over the recent advertising campaign featuring the wishes and thoughts of young children – and there was anger over some of the critical material posted on U Tube, leading to your chairman apologising to the government. There is a natural suspicion that you may now be taking the fall for that. Any truth in this?

MJ: No, not related at all.

ZAC: You have been an innovative leader at FNB, with cheap iPad offers, apps and other technology. Is this sustainable after you leave?

MJ: Yes. Innovation is in our DNA, the culture will persist, the momentum is strong and there are some exciting launches in the pipeline

ZAC: It is a cliche to say you are going to spend more time with the family. Do they still recognise you? And how disruptive has it been having a job in Jo’burg and a family in the Cape?

MJ: I see my kids two nights a week, and promised my oldest daughter, who is nine, that I will come home "forever" when she turns ten.

ZAC: Where do you want to work after a break? Director-at-large like (former McCarthy head) Brand Pretorius, wine farmer, IT innovator, lecturer and mentor, or a bit of everything?

MJ: I want to do something significant, which is quite a challenge after this big job I am leaving behind. I like to get my hands dirty. I admire entrepreneurs and am fascinated by technology and innovation. I want to create jobs and add value – and also to give back academically.

ZAC: Any further big ambitions ….learning to fly, to fly-fish, marathon running….?

MJ: I want to travel – Silicon Valley, Tel Aviv, Turkey- to read, to think, to cheer on my kids at school games, then start the next big thing.

ZAC: What have been your biggest achievement and your biggest mistake?

MJ: I am proud of the cultural revolution at FNB, the reduced hierarchy, that we have created space so people can empower themselves, and that innovation is so widely practiced. My mistake was in not taking more risk – both earlier in my career and as CEO.

ZAC: Are you going to play any direct or indirect part in politics?

MJ: No, I am useless at politics. Entrepreneurs are the only ones that create value.

ZAC: Does your future lie in SA?

MJ: Yes, and Stellenbosch more specifically.

ZAC: Will you stay active on twitter?

MJ: Of course. I am addicted to twitter.


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