Standard Bank has elevated 40-year-old personal and business banking CEO Sim Tshabalala to the position of chief executive of Standard Bank of SA, the main operating unit of the bank, with effect from June.

Group CEO Jacko Maree will remain in his existing role - it is thought he will stay at least until the end of next year - but he needs to devote time and effort to ensuring that his bank's relationship with new 20percent shareholder Industrial and Commercial Bank of China runs smoothly.

The ICBC deal is very much his baby and the Chinese rate him highly.

Ben "Air Miles" Kruger, Standard's CEO of global corporate and investment banking who was out of the country on business trips for half of last year, and Peter Wharton-Hood, his global retail banking counterpart, will become group chief operating officers - new titles created for them.

London-based Rob Leith, the nuts and bolts man on ICBC cooperation, takes over Kruger's role, but stay in the London hub from which the bank's emerging markets franchise radiates.

A key reason for the management changes is Standard's fast-expanding presence and scale in global markets: it is the largest bank in Africa and ranked 106th in the world by The Banker magazine.

The top team risked becoming too thinly spread and overstretched.

Domestic corporate and investment banking CEO David Munro will stay in his position, while Kennedy Bungane - affectionately called "KGB" by his colleagues - will become his deputy.

Munro will report to Tshabalala as will his former deputy - and now domestic retail banking CEO - Peter Schlebusch