Willie van Zyl

Group Executive Director: Business Development & Strategic Partnerships


Willie is a seasoned banker and payments specialist that brings a wealth of knowledge and experience with him. His in-depth understanding of these industries positions him perfectly for his role at Real Pay that is focused on further expansion of the brand and footprint, as well as collaboration and the establishment of strategic partnerships.

Prior to joining Real Pay, Willie held the position of Chief Enablement Officer at the Absa Group. In this role, Willie managed the successful dissolution of Absa from Barclays PLC, which was considered one of the most complex projects of its kind in the world between 2017 and 2020. Willie helped to establish the Group’s capabilities to deliver strategic change over the long term, as well as intra-group services and operational risk for all Corporate Functions.

Willie is an established Retail Banker, Card and Payments professional, and Strategic Change Practitioner with an exceptional track record. He has extensive experience in building sustainable businesses, establishing accelerated growth and turning underperforming businesses around, as well as building high-performance teams. He has accumulated a wealth of programme management, banking and payments experience in the process and is widely recognised as a high-performing, output-driven leader in the industry. He also has substantial leadership experience across the front, middle and back office in financial services and has built a reputation for excellence in delivery and execution. He uses his experience in the front line and his commercial acumen to drive effective change across complex and interconnected businesses.

Willie has also been actively involved in the payments industry and held numerous regulatory non-executive roles in the Payments Association of South Africa (PASA) as Chairperson for the PASA Card Strategy Forum, Chairperson of the PASA Biometrics Forum, Chairperson of the PASA Interchange Programme, as well as Deputy Chairperson of the PASA Council. He has received multiple awards in the process, including the Chairman of the Year Award from PASA in 2015, and several Prestige Awards for innovation and leadership at the Absa Group.
Willie thrives when he is expected to create and sustain forward momentum, drive change through disciplined programme management and operational excellence, and he has a natural style of paying close attention to detail. He has a particular passion for building high-performing teams that deliver high-value work, to make a difference in the lives of others, exploring new frontiers, creating a common and inspiring vision, and working in a diverse, challenging and complex environment. He values lasting relationships and maintaining a balanced approach between the “what” and “how” of conducting good business. Willie also believes in continuous introspection, self-discovery and intellectual renewal. He challenges himself to make a meaningful contribution each day, and strives to add value in all that he becomes involved in.

He holds a B.Com (Law) and B.Com Hons degree in Strategic Management, as well as a Master’s degree in Business Leadership (MBL).