Hardly a month following the announcement that public listed Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BIHL) chief executive officer, Regina Vaka, is leaving the blue chip group, another senior manager at the group’s subsidiary, Botswana Insurance Fund Management (Bifm) is leaving at the end of May.
Simon Ipe is resigning his Bifm Chief of Special Projects position to pursue another career opportunity after six years service.
Ipe’s resignation was confirmed by Bifm’s Marketing and Communications Manager, Tebogo Hirschfeldt, who said Ipe has a few months ensuring that the projects he is working on are fully implemented.
“Bifm, the largest asset management firm in the country and a subsidiary of BIHL, confirms that the Chief of Special Projects, Mr Simon Ipe, is resigning from his position at the company in order to pursue another career opportunity, effective 31st May 2011,” said Hirschfeldt, in response to Sunday Standard enquiries. “Simon has been with Bifm for the past six years, five of which he spent as the Chief Operations Officer.”
Former Bifm chief executive officer, Victor Senye, is also leaving at the end of the month.
The resignations come at a time when BIHL group has been consolidating and recruiting high flying careerists to stamp its authority in the life and asset management industry.
While management underplays the resignations, sources close to the group indicate that all is not well within the group and it is just a matter of time before the real story surfaces.
“Definitely, there should be something wrong at the company. It is unusual for a stable like BIHL to lose so many powerful people in a short spell of time. There should be something wrong happening and before long, this may affect the company’s performance, especially that it is a public listed company,” said a source close to the company who did not disclose the nature of the problems bedeviling the group.
Meanwhile, the group has not been shaken much by the resignations as the share price has continued to appreciate, thus outweighing the impact of the resignations.
At the beginning of the year, BIHL share price hovered around P10.75 and at the time of the announcement of Vaka’s resignation, the share price had risen to around P11.20. Now it has moved up to P12 on the back of the strong results that the company recently posted for the end of the year.
Stockbrokers Botswana Limited chief executive officer, Geoffrey Bakwena, said the market is recovering and that the biggest chunk of the group’s investments are held offshore, adding that news of Vaka’s resignation seems to have been outweighed by other events, especially the impressive end of year results.
He was, however, quick to concur that a lot of BIHL shares have been changing hands with offshore investors shedding while the local fund managers have been absorbing the shed stocks.
Meanwhile, some employees of the group are nerved by the resignations, particularly that they come in a short spell of time.
“It is like when you come to work you are just wondering on who is next. The situation is nervous but we hope there is nothing that executive management is hiding from us,” said a concerned employee.