Mutual Africa head – hunting for new boss
The process of appointing a successor for the position of Managing Director for Old Mutual Africa (OMA) Operations is to begin soon, after this week’s surprise announcement by the current MD that he is stepping down. He goes on early retirement in December 2014 after building an impressive portfolio during his tenure in office.
During the announcement at Mutual Towers in Windhoek, Old Mutual Africa Operations MD, Johannes !Gawaxab stated that “The process [of finding a successor] will start soon, and once on board, the new Africa MD will continue to be supported for the first quarter of 2015 to ensure a smooth operational transition and continuity of stakeholder relationships across the continent.”
He added that the group needs fresh blood that will take it to the next level and his early retirement was purely of his own will. !Gawaxab said he would be involved in the drafting of the credentials required for his successor and he hinted that the potential successor might take office in Johannesburg, South Africa.
!Gawaxab (57), had been with the OMA group for more than 16 years, and his retirement comes four years ahead of the company’s retirement age policy which is 61. He said, “I have achieved what I set out to do and have decided to step aside as CEO of Old Mutual.” “Smart leaders know when to move on and find new arenas to add value. When I retire, I am sure I will leave behind companies in African countries in which Old Mutual operates that customers trust, stakeholders admire and respect and employees are proud to work for” he added.
!Gawaxab highlighted that in order for the group to continue to benefit from his vast experience, he would continue his association with Old Mutual and serve in a non-executive capacity on several boards in the Old Mutual Africa business group, including Namibia, Kenya, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Ghana and the Old Mutual Africa Holdings Board until April 2015.
During !Gawaxab’s leadership, the profit contribution of Old Mutual Africa increased from N$128 million in 2006 to a staggering N$1 billion in 2013, and the assets under management rose from N$22 billion to N$64 billion over the same period. !Gawaxab was also instrumental in the successful acquisition and integration of life and general insurance business in Nigeria, Ghana and Swaziland, and the development of solutions relevant to those markets. “I am fully aware that frequent queries will be made during my tenure. There is not much to say about my tenure at Old Mutual which you all know. The story is better told and evaluation best will be made by every one of you”, he said.
He stated how he was a good ambassador for Namibia in business circles on the continent and the world and believes he did Namibia proud. “I was fortunate and had exposure locally and globally that I can only be thankful about. I have grown from a successful business executive to a global business leader and can stand on my own anywhere” he said.