Zarina Bassa: Executive Chairman (B. Acc CA)

Zarina qualified in 1988 as one of the first black female chartered accountants in South Africa. She spent 17 years at Ernst & Young, three of which were in the London and became the first black female partner at the professional services firm in 1996.

She joined the Absa Group in 2002 as the head of Retail Banking Services. She spent six years at Absa, as a member of the Group Executive Committee and was appointed as executive director of Private Banking in 2005. Zarina left Absa in December 2008 to establish her own investment company, Zarina Bassa Investments (Pty) Ltd and currently heads Songhai Capital as Executive Chairman.

Zarina currently serves on the Boards of Kumba Iron Ore Limited, Vodacom South Africa, Investec, Mercedes Benz, Sun International, Woolworths Holdings Ltd, Oceana Group Limited, Senwes Ltd and the Financial Services Board.

Zarina chairs the board of Yebo Yethu Limited, Vodacom South Africa’s BEE vehicle through which Vodacom shares were offered to staff, business partners and the black public. She is also past chairman of Woolworths Financial Services.

Zarina has extensive experience in corporate governance and ethics. She served on the board of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants’, chaired the Public Accountants’ and Auditors’ Board and the Auditing Standards Board, and was a member of the JSE Gaap Monitoring Panel and the Accounting Standards Board. 

Zarina was named Top Women Business Personality in 2005, Top Women in Business and Government in 2007 and Most Influential Women in Financial Services in the Banking category by CEO Magazine in 2008. She is also a member of Young Presidents’ Organisation (YPO) and the International Women’s Forum of South Africa.