FirstRand’s Paul Harris Appointed Honorary Professor at Stellenbosch University

Paul HarrisPaul Harris, Chief Executive of FirstRand Limited, has recently been appointed as honorary Professor in the Department of Business Management at Stellenbosch University. Professor Boshoff, Chairman of the Department of Business Management, says: “The association with someone of Prof Harris’ stature in the South African business community is a privilege and we trust that it will be mutually beneficial.” Stellenbosch University appoints Honorary Professors to give recognition to individuals for their proven specialized expertise in a specific professional field, and/or their eminence in their profession and field of study, as well as to involve them in the academic programmes of the relevant Department.

Prof Harris completed his tertiary education at Stellenbosch University with a M.Comm degree majoring in Economics and Finance. He started his career as Investigating Officer at Industrial Development Corporation (1974) before becoming a founding shareholder of Rand Consolidated Investments Ltd (RCI). In 1985 RCI took over Rand Merchant Bank and in 1987 Prof Harris started Australian Gilt Securities in Sydney (later renamed RMB Australia). He returned to South Africa in 1991 and in 1992 was welcomed as CEO of Rand Merchant Bank. In 1998 Rand Merchant Bank Holdings (RMBH) merged its financial interests with those of Anglo American, RMBH assumed management control of the newly formed FirstRand Group.

In June 1999 Paul Harris became CEO of FirstRand Bank and in January 2006 he assumed his current position as CEO of FirstRand Limited. FirstRand consists of insurance and banking interests and the major entities are First National Bank, Rand Merchant Bank, WesBank, Momentum and OUTsurance. Prof Harris currently holds directorships with RMB Holdings Ltd, FirstRand Limited, FirstRand Bank Limited, Momentum Group Ltd, Remgro Ltd, Cricket SA, the Southern African PGA Tour, and is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Penryn College and its outreach programme Penreach.

“We have exceptionally high regard for Professor Harris’ business acumen and the way he has led the FirstRand Group over the last few years. His success as business leader and his contribution in other areas of South African business are exemplary”, reiterates Prof Boshoff. Although an honorary Professor is usually not expected to present an inaugural speech, Prof Harris has agreed to this and it promises to be a memorable occasion for the Department of Business Management and the faculty of Economic and Management Sciences at Stellenbosch University.

Contact: M. Terblanche-Smit (03/03/09)