Ruth Leas is Chief Executive Officer of Investec Bank plc, the main banking subsidiary of Investec plc, a FTSE 250 listed company which houses the Investec Group’s non-Southern African operations (including the UK, US, Channel Islands, India and Ireland).
Ruth has led the Bank through a critical period of transformation, simplifying the business, exiting certain geographies and activities, reorganising the business around its clients, enhancing collaboration, and focusing on growth opportunities.
Throughout her 25-year career with Investec since 1998, Ruth has occupied roles in the UK and South Africa that have helped fuel the development of the business. After building a strong foundation in banking, including derivative structuring and sales, Ruth moved to London in 2002 and was appointed Co-Head US Principal Finance in 2004, focusing on credit derivatives and structured credit. After 10 years in client-facing roles, Ruth gained invaluable experience in various areas including Credit, Head of Investor Relations in the UK, and Head of Risk Management, giving her a holistic view of the company, as well as deep knowledge and experience across multiple areas of banking. Through these roles, Ruth also had exposure to key stakeholders such as shareholders and investors, rating agencies and regulators.
In July 2016 she was appointed as an Executive Director to the Board of Investec Bank plc. She was appointed as Chief Risk Officer in June 2017 and then appointed as Chief Executive Officer in November 2019.
As one of only nine female CEOs in the FTSE 250 index, Ruth is focused on driving belonging, diversity, and inclusion at Investec and in the financial services industry.
She is also passionate about education and mentoring young people from all backgrounds and is involved with NGOs, including The Women’s Association, Arrival Education and Morpeth School that support students gaining skills, confidence, and insights into a career in finance.
Ruth holds an M. Phil Degree from Cambridge University, as well as a degree in economics from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. At the end of her Honours year, Ruth was awarded the Gold Medal of the Economics Society of South Africa for the best Economics Honours Thesis in South Africa.
Ruth has sat on the UK Finance Board and currently sits on the Cambridge Judge Business School Advisory Board.
“I am so grateful to my parents for the privilege of attending King David Linksfield all the way from nursery school through to the end of high school. King David provided an outstanding all-round education as well as lifelong friendships, instilling deep foundations of Jewish values and learning, strong academic development within an environment that encouraged thinking and challenge, as well as many opportunities to thrive in sports and the performing arts.
I find myself often quoting my Latin teacher from Standard 6 and 7, Doc Thomas, in her strong Italian accent, somehow being very serious but also making us laugh at the same time– “D’e marks speak for d’emselves”….in the world of banking and finance – the numbers speak for themselves…
I also remember my Standard 9 and matric English teacher with deep admiration – Mrs Seftel – for inspiring me and bringing out my hidden talent in English which I never knew was there for most of my time at school"