Former CEO Michael Jordaan’s first job since leaving First National Bank is to be the chairman of Mxit, the Stellenbosch-based social network.
Jordaan, who eschewed the traditional image of a banker during his decade-long reign, has made FNB one of the most successful and innovative banks in the world, according to a plethora of awards.
“Firstly, mobile is the future. Secondly the youth is the future and the third thing is I really like the refocused [Mxit] strategy focussed on chat,” he told Business Day exclusively.
“I see my role as non-executive, and it is really to support Francois who is a superb individual,” he said of Mxit’s new CEO Francois Swart, who has been in an acting capacity since former CEO Alan Knott-Craig Jnr left last October.
‘While [Mxit] is very strong on feature phones, I like that it will be also be focussed on smartphones,” Jordaan added.
Until recently Mxit has been the largest social network in Africa, but has been overtaken by Facebook in South Africa, according to researchers World Wide Worx.
However, Mxit remains strong with the country’s youth and still has just under 7 million active users, who spend an average of 90 minutes a day on Mxit.
It has refocused itself to its original purpose, which is chatting. Various monetisation and other strategies are align to this refocused purpose, Swart said.
“It’s exciting times. We’re going back to our roots, going back to our focus,” Swart said. “The feedback and interaction we’ve had with our beta [preview]users is awesome.”
Meanwhile, Jordaan who commuted weekly to Joburg, is looking for other non-executive, advisory roles in tech start-ups. He said he is “enjoying the fruits” of his Stellenbosch wine farm, Bartinney, where his wife Rose, a former architect, is the wine farmer.
This article first appeared on Business Day.