Brian Le Sar is a seasoned and visionary C-Suite business executive, Executive and Non executive Board member, entrepreneur, business turnaround agent, innovator, business process improvement practitioner and consultant with executive management experience in public and private-sector financial services, banking, telecoms, transport, motor and related industries.
Ever entrepreneurially poised, Brian has run multiple Billion ZAR revenue businesses, managing 100’s of staff, run businesses across multiple countries, influentially shifted new business units and practices into super gear, launched new companies, created a new practice with resultant swift international expansion within a business and been part of the executive team creating a digital bank. His skill set and experience has been proven to enable Brian to create, take businesses to the next level or successfully turn poorly performing businesses around across numerous industries.
In various capacities, Brian is also deeply experienced in management consulting and has worked internationally for diverse clients – including global banks, mobile money providers and mobile network operators, as well as National Government institutions and donor agencies in Africa, Asia, North America and Europe. He has worked, trained or consulted in Indonesia, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines, USA, Canada, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Swaziland, to name a few.
Many of his focus areas have included financial inclusion, including aiding women in banking. This has led to a large focus on digital, innovative financial services, mobile money (real-time/instant payments) and banking products (transactional lending and savings) across a diverse mix of emerging markets.
During his 25 years with leading multinational financial services institution, Standard Bank, Brian worked across all business segments from financial inclusion, upper and high net-worth, SME, Commercial and Corporate clients, and also ran the corporate acquiring team in Standard Bank for a period, which entailed identifying, selling and delivering bespoke solutions to corporates and large commercial clients.
In his parting role of running the card division (credit and elements of debit) for Standard Bank across 17 African countries, Brian was instrumental in launching new countries for the Issuing and Acquiring of cards, implementing Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV), while turning the business around from a large loss to a very positive profitable position.
Furthermore, Brian pioneered a new Payments Strategy division for the Group. With diligence and unwavering commercial focus, he nurtured innovations regarded by international bankers worldwide as globally ground-breaking in Payments Strategy integration and administration – for strategic and business gains. This model has since been adopted by numerous banks the world over.
Prior to that, he directed the Bank’s internal consultancy, which entailed working with all business units to improve profitability, processes and products, including wealth, insurance and Diners business. Here, he was also responsible for the end to end delivery of solutions for clients, ranging from cash delivery and management, through merchant acquiring, operational areas, processing, short-term and life assurance solutions, among others.
Having been a successful practitioner in work-and-method study, including large branch surveys, throughout his career Brian has managed FTE optimisations and business process re-engineering. He was part of the small client team that worked with McKinsey to optimise Standard Bank’s channels and branch network with a focus on customer centricity and optimisations.
Professional Profile (Continued)
Dedicating the past six years of his stellar career to the pursuit, acquisition and propagation of progressively novel product and service introductions, Brian launched the National Payment System Institute, to demystify payments, its ecosystem and provide key information in a meaningful format, thus enabling practitioners to function more effectively. Its product offering and approach are distinctive in its focus on National Payments Systems with a global geographic focus.
With exacting specialties in pioneering integrated, profitable banking systems and advanced leadership management across the value chain, Brian deftly fields policy, regulatory and strategic issues arising during design and application of new technology, business models, product development and architecture. He maintains an unwavering focus on innovation and client centricity to provide appropriate financial services solutions to emerging market customers, without fail and sustainably assimilating financial inclusion and the advancement of women in banking through each strategy implementation. He has also architected and created new businesses as well as turned around businesses and run very successful businesses, these have include industries such as Banking, Mobile money, Loyalty schemes/ Rewards, Training, Media, Telematics and the like.
Brian holds a Commercial Banking Licentiate Diploma and earned his MBA from the Witwatersrand Business School with his thesis “The Strategic Impact of Electronic Commerce on Commercial Banks”. Alongside his substantive academic credentials, including Bachelors of Commerce and Honours from UNISA, Brian has also authored several journal articles on payments in Journal of Payments Strategy & Systems and is on the editorial board of same and the Journal of Digital Banking.
He is extensively travelled and, besides consulting to international banks, has attended and presented at conferences abroad. A former Chairman of the Payments Association of South Africa (PASA) with abundant industry Board and Committee representation, Brian’s three decades plus, of distinguished financial services experience has earned him esteem, infallible trust among colleagues, clients, industry peers and business leaders across the globe.
Master of Business Administration Corporate Finance, Man Resources, Operations Management, Service Delivery, etc