!Gawaxab appreciated and honoured
!Gawaxab earlier this year announced his decision to go on early retirement in December 2014.
In the messages of appreciation and recognition there was a clear indication that the Group has no intention of losing out on !Gawaxab’s extensive experience and institutional knowledge as repeated references to ongoing mentorship and chairmanship of various boards within the Group across Africa.
Amidst the shared reminiscences and hearty chuckles regarding taking Old Mutual into many unexplored territories in Africa as part of Johannes’ drive to ensure his vision for Africa’s business potential was realised, was also the quiet and respectful recognition that one man’s will and commitment can make a significant difference to how Africa is viewed in the eyes of the world.
On behalf of his Exco team visiting from as far afield as Colombia and Mexico, Ralph Mupita, CEO: Old Mutual Emerging Markets, thanked Johannes for always challenging the business to be more than what it was, and to deliver more to customers throughout Africa, so much so that what began as a side conversation to an international strategy, now resides as a core driver of the Group’s continuing success.
Under !Gawaxab’s leadership, the profit contribution of Old Mutual Africa (OMA) increased from N$128 million in 2006 to more than N$1 billion in 2013 and assets under management rose from N$22 billion to N$64 billion over the same period.
He was notably instrumental in the successful acquisition and integration of life and general insurance businesses in Nigeria, Ghana and Swaziland, and the development of solutions relevant to these markets.
!Gawaxab began his journey with Old Mutual in 1998 as CEO of Old Mutual Asset Managers Namibia, a greenfield operation he started and built into the number one asset management company in the country. In 2003, he was promoted to MD of the Old Mutual Group in Namibia, an integrated financial services business that is rated today among the top five companies in the country. In March 2006, he was appointed to lead Old Mutual’s African businesses outside South Africa – Zimbabwe, Namibia, Kenya and Malawi.
In this role, he helped shape Old Mutual’s strategy and footprint and deepen the Group’s commitment to customer focus and leadership in the financial services sector.
!Gawaxab, often called by President Pohamba a true ‘son of the soil’, was clearly moved by the many messages of support for him to continue to grow from strength to strength as an Africa leader, and the encouragement to continue to drive this agenda beyond the constraints of only one company’s intent.
Meanwhile his successor is to be appointed early December 2014. The new Africa MD will continue to be supported by Johannes for Q12015 to ensure a smooth operational transition and continuity of stakeholder relationships across the continent.