South Africa’s first female President of the Reserve Bank (as from 9 November 2009) was born in Johannesburg on 10 August 1949 as the second of four children of Nathan and Molly Marcus. Her family lived in Berea, Johannesburg and both parents were ANC activists. She was a keen sportswoman and particularly enjoyed swimming and horse-riding. She attended the Barnato Park High School for Girls in Johannesburg, and started studying for the BComm degree at the University of the Witwatersrand. In 1970 her parents visited Germany and England and decided to move the family to England where they started a new business. She switched courses to industrial psychology and finished her degree in London. Marcus never took part in student politics as she considered it as being impractical.
She served in the Department of Information of the African National Congress) ANC in London in 1970 and later became editor of the ANC’s weekly newsletter. This was followed by her appointment as deputy-secretary for information – responsible for international publicity. She returned to South Africa in 1990 to assist with the establishment of the ANC’s information department. In 1991 she became a member of the national executive council of the ANC.
In 1994 Gill was elected to Parliament and served as its first chairperson of the Joint Standing Committee on Finance. In 1996 she was appointed Deputy Minister of Finance, and in 1999 as Deputy-Governor of the South African Reserve Bank, a position she held until 2004. In 1996 Marcus became Deputy-Minister for Finance and in 1999 Deputy-President of the South African Reserve Bank.
She was appointed Director of the Gordon Institute of Business Science from 2004 to July 2007; Marcus was Professor Policy, Leadership and Gender Studies at this Institute of Business Science (Gibs) and is currently a Visiting Professor.
In June 2005 she became non-executive director of Bidvest and in November she was appointed Executive Chairperson of Western Areas. In February of 2007 she became non-executive director of Gold Fields and in June was appointed as non-executive chairperson of ABSA Marcus previously served as chairperson of a number of regulatory and supervisory bodies, including the Financial Services Board and the Standing Committee for the Revision of the Banks Act.
She is not married.