Baronice opens the gate for all other aspiring women
Less than three months after clinching Namibia’s prestigious Businesswoman award for 2015, Baronice Hans landed one of the top positions at Bank Windhoek, as Managing Director.
Hans, a former Executive Director and Head of personal and business banking at Standard Bank Namibia was approached by a sourcing agency after applying for the post when the bank communicated that the current Managing Director, Christo de Vries’ contract ends in June 2016.
In questions posed by the Economist, Hans said “I am truly honoured being the first woman MD, especially of a leading Namibian Bank such as Bank Windhoek”.
According to Hans, she is convinced that landing this position will open the door for all other women, as well as all other aspiring young ladies, inclusive of daughters and even future granddaughters to follow in her impressive journey to the top.
“In the near future I believe a larger number of women will occupy these types of roles successfully and that this would be perceived as normal,” she added.
Commenting on the role that the Businesswoman of the Year award played , she said, “It is a very prestigious and highly regarded award. I am sure that winning the Businesswoman Award was perceived in a positive light, but given the nature and scope of the role as Managing Director, factors such as skills, qualifications and relevant experience would be the key considerations”.
As she enters the new environment as the first woman MD, Hans said her first priority is to get to know the Bank Windhoek environment, to get to know the team, engage with key stakeholders especially clients and ensure a smooth transition from the current head.
According to Hans, every challenge also presents opportunities and for her this is a key aspect.
In her prior roles in the financial services industry, Hans joined Standard Bank Namibia in 2009 as chief operating officer.
During her time at Standard Bank, despite challenges the bank experienced after replacing its 30-year-old Legacy Core Banking system Hans ensured that loans advanced in her division grew by 201% from N$6.5 billion to N$13.2 billion from 2009 to June 2015, while customer deposits also gained massive ground as they grew by 159%.
The most recent half-year results for June 30, 2015 showed that headline earnings for her division were up 41%.
In a prior interview with Hans she said that success is achieved through ordinary men and women in her team doing extra-ordinary things in very trying time to raise the bar.
“This was achieved through embedding a spirit of resilience and continuously focussing everyone back on our plan and our customers, who are the reason we exist,” she said then.
Meanwhile, Hans is set to take the reigns as Managing Director Designate on 01 February, for the transition period which ends at the end of the current financial year of the Bank. As from 01 July she will take over from Christo de Vries as the Managing Director of Bank Windhoek.