Chris Low: Did he JUMP before the PUSH?

05 Aug 2018

Sources close to the Botswana Stock Exchange quoted lender, Letshego Holdings believes that there was no way Chris Low was going to remain as the group’s Managing Director until the end of his contract.

Low handed a sudden resignation from the plum-post this week, a development that the pan-African lender has since confirmed.

While the group’s board of directors says Low “Has decided to step down from his role”, those close to the lender believes that he has been pushed out.

Unconfirmed reports indicate that the board has been unhappy with some corporate governance issues within the Group including the recent inappropriate financial results saga which saw the company being forced to republish its financials.

“This did not sit well with the board”, said a source on Thursday.

At the same time, Low is quoted by the company’s press statement expressing his happiness on “the business Letshego is today”. An email he sent to Letshego staff from Johannesburg, South Africa gives a clearer picture of how he feels about his departure.

“It is with a heavy heart that I write to inform you that, after a difficult period of consideration and internal debate, I have given the board notice of my intention to step down from my role as MD, to pursue other opportunities outside Letshego Group,”

Low further stated in an email that over the last five years while at Letshego, he had one of the most exciting and fully consuming times of his working career, the Group has transformed into an internationally recognized and successful inclusive finance provider across sub-Saharan Africa.

He however did not share with any details relating to his contract with his junior colleagues in his last email. His previous three year contract ended in 2016 and was renewed.

Letshego Head Group Corporate Affairs, Letshego Holdings Lauren Callie denied the allegations that Low did not voluntarily step down and rather was pushed out by the board of directors from the recent board meeting in Johannesburg on Thursday.

Meanwhile the board has put in place a transition management team, led by Colm Patterson who will manage the transition period Low’s successor is appointed. Patterson is the substantive Chief Financial Officer.

The resignation of Low comes hardly a few years after the Non-Banking Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority (NBFIRA) and Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) launched intense investigations into the goings-on Letshego Holdings Limited. The investigations followed an e-mail detailing mal-administration and manipulation of company financials was circulated among the micro lender’s board members and media houses.

At the time, the company issued an announcement and stated that the board had formed a special committee chaired by a non-executive Directors and comprising of a number of third parties to investigate and respond to the allegations. The findings of such were never made public.