Chipeio takes on the world of business and law
By Natasha Jacha
From not imaging taking on the world of business and law, Christoffer Chipeio, now heads Nedbank Namibia’s Legal Compliance, Governance and Company Secretary department.
Christoffer Chipeio, a University of Stellenbosch graduate who completed his articles and worked hard to launch his career in the legal profession.
He started out as Legal Practitioner at a Commercial Law firm before moving on to the roles of Assistant Legal Advisor and then Compliance officer, until he joined the green bank. His first position within Nedbank was that of Risk Analyst as he worked to climb the ladder to be promoted to Legal Advisor and, Head of Legal. He soon felt the need to diversify his exposure within banking and joined the Retail and Business Banking Team as an Area Manager overseeing Windhoek branches and the Nedloans Business.
In April this year he re-joined the Risk division as Head of Legal, Governance, Compliance and Company Secretary.
Often misunderstood, the role of a company secretary in an organisation is a vital component to ensure the smooth running of the business. The Company Secretary is the custodian of the organisation’s governance portfolio and is the principal administrative officer responsible for e.g. ensuring compliance with the companies act, guiding members of the various governance structures, convening meetings and maintaining statutory records.
The responsibility and accountability this role brings with is immense, as failure to execute in this role can have disastrous consequences such as governance abuses which have the potential to erode value and may even lead to statutory, criminal or ethical violations. This profession thus requires a very high level of conscientiousness, versatility, critical analysis, problem solving, verbal and written linguistic competency as well as assertiveness, emotional intelligence and creativity.
For a young person looking to pursue Christoffer’s career path, he advises to study a degree in Law with a background in commerce, i.e. B.Com LLB, B.Acc. LLB. He calls on young people to look at the profession with new eyes.
“Namibia particularly needs ethical and competent governance. A fundamental aspect of financial prosperity is found in the separation between the individual and his corporation. This permits a mitigation of risk and sharing of rewards, which promotes enterprise and the involvement of investors in the innovative endeavours of individuals. Lawyers should be midwives in the process of birthing innovation and prosperity via complex legal mechanisms,” he said.
Chipeio did not always envision himself taking on the world of business and law; in fact, he wanted to become a medical doctor and even applied in a completely contrary field – mechanical engineering.
Today he is thankful for the path he decided to take instead and has his roots firmly planted in the legal profession. As with most disciplines, he anticipates that the discipline he loves will see a change in the future. “With the rise of the intelligent machine, legal careers will experience a revision and redefinition which will increasingly involve a collaborative practice between man and machine. Particularly in legal research, analysis and advise,” he said.
He looks to the future and predicts that human lawyers will take on a more supervisory and empathetic role involving the delivery of legal services to clients in a more personalised manner and to grant the anthropological assurances that people may require, despite their interaction with robots. He also predicts that legal services will become easily accessible via apps and will become increasingly affordable.
In the meantime, the legal profession presents vast opportunities for young people in Namibia to leverage and grow professionally.
Leading Nedbank Namibia’s Junior Exco, his involvement in high value labour matters and commercial transactions, his leadership role at a respected banking institution and the completion of the coveted Management development programme at Stellenbosch University are only some of the milestones in his career thus far. And judging from his personal mantra, “Gratitude builds Attitude and lifts Altitude!”, there is only greater things expected from this dynamic law professional.
His advice to young people in high school, “spend time dedicating yourself to studying the school material exceptionally well, read books that motivate you to succeed, choose friends carefully and put God first.”
He shares a good life hack to stay on course in achieving personal goals, “set five goals each year and write them out every morning as if you’ve already achieved them,” he advised.
With his wife as his greatest supporter, his mother as his compass to his faith and exceptional leaders such as Lionel Matthews to look up to, Christoffer has all the right structures in place to work toward achieving his goal of running his own group of companies and building platforms to launch the next generation of multi sectoral leaders. In ten years’ time, he hopes to accomplish great things for himself and his country.
Until then he is utilising every opportunity to grow at Nedbank and contribute to the green revolution in banking.
“Nedbank is at the edge of a major opportunity to impact Namibia,” he said and he has taken his seat at the table to bring about this culture shift. He hopes to enlarge and bring forth his vision not only in his personal life but also in the society.