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Willy Mertens takes over as new Debmarine CEO

Willy Mertens takes over as new Debmarine CEO

Debmarine Namibia has appointed Willy Mertens as its new Chief Executive effective 1 November 2022, succeeding Otto Shikongo, who retires from the business at the end of this year, having been at the helm since 1 January 2004.

Mertens is currently the Chief Financial Officer of Debmarine Namibia with oversight accountability for Namdeb Holdings. He is a Chartered Accountant by training, and brings to his new role a wealth of corporate experience spanning more than twenty years.

In addition to his chartered accounting training, he also holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Engineering from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, as well as numerous professional executive training qualifications, including from the London Business School.

“Not only does Mertens have a deep understanding of our business; he also has an acute appreciation of the strategic role of Debmarine Namibia within the broader context of Namibia,” said Debmarine Namibia Board Chairperson, Ndeulipula Hamutumwa.

Under Shikongo’s leadership, Debmarine Namibia has become a recognized world-class company; an aspect of immense pride for all of Debmarine Namibia. His many achievements include the migration of the business from South Africa to Namibia in 2001, the acquisition of a world-class diamond recovery fleet, including the custom-built mv SS Nujoma, the world’s first custom-built marine diamond sampling vessel, and the recently inaugurated, Benguela Gem, the world’s largest diamond recovery vessel.

De Beers Group Chief Executive, Bruce Cleaver, applauded Shikongo who played a pivotal role in migrating the business from Cape Town in 2001, first as Operations Manager, and then as Chief Executive from 2004.

“On behalf of everyone at De Beers Group, we would like to thank Otto for his 35 years of outstanding service. At the same time, we are delighted that Willy will succeed Otto. Willy has been a key member of the Debmarine Namibia leadership team for the last ten years, and I look forward to his leadership as Chief Executive,” Cleaver said.


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