JOHANNESBURG - The chief executive of Africa's largest bank, Standard Bank, stepped down Thursday with immediate effect, the firm said.
Jacko Maree, 57, will leave after 13 years at the helm of the company, and will become a non-executive advisor.
"The board expresses its deep appreciation to Jacko for his substantial contribution to Standard Bank over a career of more than 32 years, and is delighted that his skills will remain within the group," the company said in a statement.
Sim Tshabalala, 45, and Ben Kruger, 53, have been appointed joint chief executives.
Maree had overseen a period of substantial growth for the company, and a refocusing on its African business.
The group has been scaling back or divesting from operations in Russia, Turkey, Argentina and Brazil.
On Thursday Standard reported the sale of Standard Bank Argentina helped push profits up 23 per cent in 2012.
Net profit hit 16.5 billion rand (S$2.2 billion) for the year.
Standard Bank expressed confidence that African markets would grow, even as its home economy of South Africa struggles.
"African economic growth rebounded in 2012 after popular uprisings and political unrest in North Africa brought overall growth down to 3.4 per cent in 2011."
"Africa's high population growth and rapid rate of urbanisation, as well as its resource wealth and deepening financial sector, are some of the main pillars providing structural support for this counter-cyclical growth pattern."