Maria Ramos is Group Chief Executive of Absa Group Ltd. Prior to joining Absa in March 2009, she was the Group Chief Executive of Transnet Ltd, the state-owned freight transport and logistics service provider for five years. This was after a successful seven-year stint as Director-General of the National Treasury.
An accomplished academic who has taught at various institutions, Maria obtained an Institute of Bankers’ Diploma (CAIB) in 1983, a BCom (1986) and a BCom Honours in Economics (1987) from the University of the Witwatersrand and an MSc (Economics) from the University of London in 1992. She is also a recipient of honorary doctorates from the Universities of Stellenbosch and the Free State.
Maria led Transnet through a massive financial, cultural and operational turnaround. During her tenure as Director-General of the National Treasury (formerly the Department of Finance), she played a key role in transforming the Treasury into one of the most effective and efficient state departments in the post-apartheid administration.
Her contribution has been recognised through numerous awards. Recently she was named CNBC Africa Woman Leader of the Year (2011). She was also awarded the Wits Business School’s Management Excellence Award (2010), successive rankings in the global ‘Fortune’ annual ranking survey (ranked 11th in 2010 and 7th in 2011 out of a list of the 50 most powerful women in business), ‘Sunday Times Business Times’ Business Leader of the Year (2005) and Businesswoman of the Year by the SA Businesswomen’s Association (2001).
Maria has in the past served as Non-Executive and Independent Director on the boards of Sanlam Ltd, Remgro Ltd and SABMiller Plc, and currently serves on the executive committee of the World Economic Forum’s International Business Council. She is a member of the Chief Economist Advisory Council of the World Bank, Business Leadership of SA, Institute of International Finance, International Monetary Forum as well as the Banking Association of SA. Maria is also a member of the Barclays Plc Executive Committee.
In April 2011 she was given the additional task of geographical responsibility of executing Barclays’ Africa strategy. This, the One Bank in Africa strategy, seeks to take advantage of the growth prospects on the continent. In this role she will be in charge of the Group’s 13 African operations which serve some 15 million customers across the continent via more than 11 000 outlets.