Maria Ramos

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Maria Ramos
Maria Ramos - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Davos 2010 crop.jpg
Maria Ramos at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, 2010
Born (1959-02-22) 22 February 1959 (age 59)
Lisbon, Portugal
ResidenceJohannesburg, South Africa
NationalitySouth African
EducationInstitute of Bankers
University of the Witwatersrand
University of London
OccupationBusinesswoman and banker
Years active1977-
Home townJohannesburg
TitleCEO, Absa Group Limited
Spouse(s)Trevor Manuel

Maria Ramos (born 1959) is the chief executive officer (CEO) of Absa Group Limited, a financial services conglomerate, with headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa, and subsidiaries in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.[1] [2][3]

Prior to joining Absa as CEO in March 2009, she was the CEO of Transnet Limited. This was after serving as director-general of the National Treasury.[4]

Early life[edit]

Ramos was born in Lisbon, Portugal, on 22 February 1959, the oldest of four daughters.[5] Her parents emigrated to Mozambique and then South Africa in the mid 1960s in search of better opportunities. Ramos was six when her family began their new life in Vereeniging, about 58 kilometres (36 mi), by road, south of Johannesburg.[6]

Ramos matriculated in 1977 and went to work for Barclays in Vereeniging as a waste clerk, which involved collecting paperwork such as deposit slips and cheques, from behind the tellers and manually processing them.[5]

In the search for a scholarship, Ramos discovered that her bank had a scholarship scheme where they supported employees to complete a university commerce degree. Upon applying, she discovered that it was only open to men. A long battle ensued, with Ramos surmounting various obstacles in her attempt to get the rules changed; eventually she was told that if she sat the basic exams and passed, they would consider her. She drove from Vereeniging to Johannesburg three nights a week after work to evening classes held by the Institute of Bankers, and passed the exam in record time, earning herself a Banker’s Diploma.[citation needed]

Academic life[edit]

An accomplished academic, who has taught at various institutions, Ramos obtained an Institute of Bankers’ Diploma (CAIB) in 1983. She followed this with a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in 1986, a Bachelor of Commerce Honours in Economics (also from Wits) in 1987 and a Master of Science (Economics) from the University of London in 1992.[4][7]

Business life[edit]

Maria Ramos is the Chief Executive Officer of Absa Group Limited. She has the responsibility for executing the Group’s strategy across 10 African operations, serving 15 Million customers through more than 11,000 outlets.[7]

Prior to joining Absa as Group Chief Executive in March 2009, she was the Group Chief Executive of Transnet Limited, the state-owned freight transport and logistics service provider for five years. This was after successfully serving as Director-General of the National Treasury from 1996 to 2003.[7]

She has in the past served as a non-executive and independent director on the boards of Sanlam Limited, Remgro Limited and SABMiller Plc, and currently serves on the Board of Richemont SA.[7]

She is the current Chairman of the Banking Association of South Africa, a member of the Executive Committee of the World Economic Forum’s International Business Council and on the Board of Business Leadership South Africa.[7]


Ramos is a recipient of honorary doctorates from the Stellenbosch and Free State universities. Ramos 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.[5]

She has successively been ranked in Fortune magazine’s annual survey of the 50 most powerful women in business for a number of years running, having most recently been ranked 11th in the Europe, Middle East & Africa Region for 2015.[8]

Her contribution has been recognized through numerous awards. She was named CNBC Africa Woman Leader of the Year (2011), and was awarded the Wits Business School’s Management Excellence Award (2010). She was named the Sunday Times Business Times Business Leader of the Year in 2005 and Businesswoman of the Year by the SA Businesswomen’s Association in 2001.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Ramos married the South African politician Trevor Manuel in 2008.[5]

See also[edit]

Preceded by
Mkwanazi, M.
Chief Executive Officer of Transnet
Succeeded by
Molefe, B.


  1. ^ Jackie Cameron (1 March 2018). "Start of African renaissance for Absa as Maria Ramos dumps Barclays Africa brand". Johannesburg: Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  2. ^ Absa Group Limited (1 March 2018). "Barclays Africa Group Sets Out New Strategy for Growth". Johannesburg: Absa Group Limited. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  3. ^ Dorothy Nakaweesi (15 May 2018). "Shareholders approve name change to Absa Group Limited". Daily Monitor. Kampala. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  4. ^ a b Barclays Africa Group (16 May 2018). "Barclays Africa Group: Executive Committee: Maria Ramos, Chief Executive Officer". Johannesburg: Barclays Africa Group. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d e Success Story Organization (2016). "Maria Ramos Story". Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  6. ^ (16 May 2018). "Distance between Johannesburg, South Africa and Vereeniging, South Africa". Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  7. ^ a b c d e One Young World (2013). "Maria Ramos: CEO, Barclays Africa Group Limited". London: Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  8. ^ Claire Groden (14 September 2015). "Most Powerful Women: Europe, Middle East, Africa: Maria Ramos: Group CEO, Barclays Africa Limited". Retrieved 16 May 2018.

External links[edit]