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Ex CEO of First National Bank pursues his passion for entrepreneurship


Michael Jordaan is well known within the South African context as being on the forefront of leadership, innovation and technology. With more than 20 years’ experience in the financial services sector and nearly a decade at the helm of FNB, Michael oversaw the move away from traditional banking, and led FNB to be named the “World’s Most Innovative Bank” in the 2012 Global Banking Innovation Awards, held in Washington DC.
He stepped down as CEO of FNB (one of SA’s largest banks with a customer base of nearly nine million) in 2013 to pursue his passion for entrepreneurship.

Leadership, Innovation and Technology

Keynote Summary

Technology will change the world more drastically in the next 10 years than it has in the last 30 years, there’ll be innovation in every industry and new forward-thinking start-ups will enter the market. In today’s digital age where the world is more global, connected and innovative than ever, good leaders are creating their future rather than reacting to it. Michael is well known for the culture he nurtured at FNB, one of owner-manager and innovation that led FNB to be named the World’s Most Innovative Bank. In his Digital Disruption talk Michael explores various industries that have been disrupted by exponential changes in data and the mobile explosion, such as medical diagnostics, Internet of Things, sensors and media tech. He looks at how technology is changing the world and solving problems, including AI & robotics, machine learning, 3D printing, Food tech, solar power, synthetic biology. As an Economist, he has a unique economic perspective, and also speaks as a VC invested in these exact industries.

During his time as CEO, Michael placed significant focus on cultivating an innovative culture within FNB. Under his guidance, the FNB Innovators’ Program was launched in 2004 and at the time of his resignation 7244 innovations had been implemented. Encouraging self-generated innovation has improved FNB’s ability to respond to the exponential rate of business change in the global banking market.

In 2014 he co-founded a coding apprenticeship program, ProjectcodeX, to grow highly skilled software developers to fuel the digital economy.

Michael is the 2013 Sunday Times Business Leader Award winner and in 2014 he was awarded CNBC The All Africa Business Leader of the Year award. Michael is also an avid Tweeter and it was not uncommon for him to respond to FNB customers via Twitter.

The former Banker now heads up a private investment company, Montegray Capital, investing in disruptive business models enabled by technology. Michael lends a strategic-hand to various businesses, including Mxit and Wines of South Africa (WoSA), and is a non-executive Director on the JSE Limited.

After being an officer in the SA Navy in 1990, Michael started his career as a management trainee and corporate banker with Deutsche Bank in Hamburg and Frankfurt during 1991 and 1993 respectively. He then joined the “Class Of” Program with Rand Merchant Bank (RMB), the Investment Banking division of the FirstRand Group, in 1994. He has held various CEO positions throughout the FirstRand Group, including the start-up Origin Bank (which rebranded to RMB Private Bank), eBucks and FNB HomeLoans. He headed up FNB’s Retail products in 2002, and was appointed as CEO of FNB in 2004 at the age of 36.

Michael has a Masters degree in Economics and a Ph.D. in Banking Supervision, both from Stellenbosch University.

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