Tuesday, September 29, 2020

BIHL puts women in the frontline as diversification takes center stage

Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BIHL) this week announced major changes to the city as the listed blue chip positions itself for post recession era.

The Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) top five companies revealed the newly created position of Chief Executive Officer will be filled by a woman, Reginah Sikalesele-Vaka.

“We felt we had gone through the vigorous and transparent process to appoint the CEO,” said Batsho Dambe-Groth, BIHL Board Chairperson, when announcing the CEO.

Dambe-Groth told Sunday Standard that the former MVA CEO assumes the role immediately although she will continue running the affairs at Botswana Life, the life division of BIHL.

“The incumbent has big challenges ahead to drive the diversification process,” added Dambe-Groth.

The CEOs of two subsidiaries Botswana Life and Bifm will stop reporting to the board, but rather will report to Sikalesele-Vaka, while she will report directly to the board.

The position comes at a time when BIHL is trying to position itself in the rough terrain where a specific and clever CEO will have to weather the storm.

Sikalesele-Vaka has been the CEO of Botswana Life since 2004 after she left MVA Fund.

Despite her strong performance, she was nearly overshadowed by a near scandal where she and other executive managers and directors sold themselves P300 million worth of shares in Bifm.

BIHL was since charged P25, 000 by the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) for violating listing requirements.

The listed company breached Rule 10.2 of the BSE Listings Requirements.

The rule states that listed companies contemplating related party transactions are required to consult BSE prior to entering into such transactions.

Meanwhile, Dambe-Groth has been confirmed as the Chairperson of BIHL. She has been acting for the last 15 months since Mclean Letshwiti left.

She told Sunday Standard there will be changes in the near future, like replacement of Sikalesele-Vaka at Botswana Life although saying at the moment it will be business as usual.

Dambe-Groth also announced the launch of Property Fund that will be driven by BIHL veteran, Victor Senye, who is the current Chief Executive Officer of Bifm, the asset management division of the group.

The fund will target property opportunities in the country and outside the country.

At his farewell ceremony last year, former BDC Managing Director Kenneth Matambo praised Senye for having been instrumental in the conception of Gaborone International Convention Centre (GICC).

Sikalesele-Vaka comes at a time when BIHL is in good footing with assets under management growing to P16.5 billion.

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The Telegraph September 30

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 30, 2020.