Co-Founder & Former CEO FirstRand Limited
Celebrated South African banker and esteemed businessman, Laurie Dippenaar is a co-founder, and the former CEO, of one of South Africa’s largest financial services groups, FirstRand Limited.
Dippenaar graduated from the University of Pretoria with a Masters in Commerce. He qualified as a chartered accountant with Aiken & Carter (now KPMG) and spent three years with the Industrial Development Corporation. Dippenaar’s diverse and inspiring career truly began in 1977, when he and two partners – Paul Harris and GT Ferreira – came together to set up a small financial structuring house in Johannesburg called Rand Consolidated Investments (RCI).
Their vision, drive and complementary strengths transformed the fledgling business into one of South Africa’s leading investment banks. Armed with strong cash reserves, technical know-how and a burning desire for growth, the team acquired Rand Merchant Bank (RMB), a small investment bank and merged it with RCI in 1984. The merged company adopted the name RMB and the trio replicated their success, building the business into one of the leading investment banks in the country.
After a series of successful mergers and acquisitions, including Momentum Life, one of the country’s largest insurance companies; First National Bank, one of South Africa’s largest retail banks; and Southern Life, South Africa’s fourth largest insurance company, FirstRand was formed in 1998. Today, the Group has operations in nine neighbouring African countries, Dubai, India, and other key financial centres including China and London. With its commitment to entrepreneurship and innovation, and an owner-manager culture, this market-leading financial institution continues to be a dominant player in South Africa, and across Africa.
While an astute businessman, Dippenaar is also committed to South Africa’s growth in education. He sponsors the Laurie Dippenaar Scholarship, a grant given annually to a South African citizen for postgraduate study abroad in any discipline at an international university of their choice. Candidates must demonstrate academic excellence, leadership qualities and community involvement. What makes this scholarship different from most is not only the personal interest that Dippenaar displays in the selection process, but also his interest in the ongoing progress of each recipient.
Dippenaar currently serves the Group in a non-executive capacity and is a non-executive chairman of various Top 40 listed companies including OUTsurance and Momentum. He also holds several non-executive directorships on the boards of leading South African companies.