The retail chain store, Choppies Group, says they have appointed former President Festus Mogae their Board Chairman as part of their preparations to list on the Botswana Stock Exchange.
The Group’s Chief Executive Officer, Ramachandran Ottapath, says in line with the listing requirements, other positions on the Board will be announced.
Mogae takes the chairmanship from the Choppies founder and majority shareholder Farouk Ishmael, who will now continue as Managing Director.
Ottapath said they expect to have listed the company in 18 months.
Preparations are at an advanced stage, he said.
In an interview with Sunday Standard, Ottapath also said the growth of the food retailer has by far exceeded the initial projections.
A P30 million warehouse expected to cater for the projected growth is nearing completion.
“Choppies started as a small family owned business. Our intention is to draw on the former president’s wealth of experience,” he said.
During his career as a public servant and before joining politics, Mogae sat as a director on a several companies.
He was one of the first citizens to represent the Botswana government on the Board of De Beers Botswana, which was a forerunner of Debswana, the company that produces and markets all of Botswana diamonds.
The former president has also interacted with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
On another note, Ottapath said Choppies has already started on an expansion programme to open stores in the North West Province of South Africa.
He said as part of their localization and empowerment programme the Group has recruited about 100 graduates who are now being trained to assume senior roles of responsibility.
In less than 10 years, Choppies has been able to capture close to 30% of Botswana’s retail market share.
“Choppies is a Botswana Brand and will remain so. We are expanding into the North West Province because of the enormous opportunities that we see arising therein.”
The province, which has many demographic similarities with Botswana, has close to 4 million people.
“The language and culture are not so much different from here,” said Ottapath.