Thursday, October 22, 2020

Race for BoB top post ensues as new Deputy Governor is appointed

The Bank of Botswana (BoB) did not take long to replace long serving Deputy Governor Oduetse Motshidisi, who sent shockwaves through the financial sector with his shock resignation last week. The BoB this week announced that Andrew Motsomi has been appointed to replace Motshidisi, sparking speculation that he is being groomed to take over the Central Bank top post.

Financial industry insiders believe Motsomi is being prepped to take the baton from Governor Linah Mohohlo, who is expected to leave when her contract elapses in 2017. Motsomi joined the BoB 32 years ago and rose through the ranks until he headed a number of departments, including Research and Banking Supervision. He has also worked for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) under the special appointee programme.

Sunday Standard is informed that Mohohlo’s contract was supposed to end last year September, but was extended by President Ian Khama, as the appointing authority, until 2017. BoB’s Head of Communications Andrew Sesinyi on Wednesday confirmed Motshidisi’s ‘retirement’ but did not reveal more details.

“Indeed former Deputy Governor Motshidisi retired from the service of the Bank of Botswana at the end of January,” said Sesinyi.

Motshidisi and another Deputy Governor, Moses Pelaelo were favourites to replace Mohohlo (64) upon her retirement. Meanwhile, financial industry captains have expressed shock at Motshidisi’s resignation.

“This is a huge loss to the industry. He was good at working with people and he always spoke his mind. He was an instrumental figure who brought good developments to the financial markets despite the challenging economic landscape. Many were hoping he would one day take over as Governor,” said an anonymous banking executive.

Within the BoB, Motshidisi has previously expressed unhappiness that almost half a century into self rule, Botswana still does not have an indigenous commercial bank. Following the expiry of Julia Majaha-J├ñrtby’s contract, Motshidisi was appointed to the position of Deputy Governor in February 1, 2001. He took the over-arching responsibility for supervising the Financial Markets, Banking Supervision, Accounting and Administration Departments. The other Deputy Governor took responsibility for the Research, Information Technology and Banking Departments as well as the Board Secretariat and Security Divisions. Motshidisi left the BoB after serving for 27 years, 15 of them as Deputy Governor. He left at a time when the sluggish economy and tough trading conditions were weighing heavily on the banking sector, with the country’s top three banks expecting dampened financial results.

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