Agribank, Telecom in search of new bosses

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Windhoek

Two of the country’s biggest parastatals, Telecom Namibia and Agribank, are in search of new chief executive officers.

Telecom currently has no permanent CEO, with its chief strategy officer Theo Klein currently acting in that position. The position became vacant when former CEO Frans Ndoroma’s contract ended last year.

As for Agribank, its incumbent CEO Ambassador Leonard Iipumbu’s contract will end in July next year. The board said it decided to start with the recruitment process this year already, because it does not want to find itself in a situation where it has to appoint an acting CEO, but rather prefers to do things timeously to ensure that Iipumbu’s successor is appointed in time.

Telecom and Agribank advertised the positions in newspapers on Friday, calling for aspiring executives with experience of no less than 10 and 12 years respectively. The application deadlines are set for this Friday.

Agribank
Agribank earlier this year extended Iipumbu’s contract for a period of 15 months, starting in May and ending in July next year. He was appointed as CEO in 2005. Iipumbu was praised by the company for playing a significant role in the growth of the bank.

Under his leadership Agribank’s growth and the performance of its loan book averaged 8.5 percent over a period of 10 years and its net worth increased from N$672 million in 2004 to N$1.8 billion last year.

With about eight months to go before Iipumbu’s contract runs out, Agribank’s board chairperson Terttu Uuyuni on Monday said the board has embarked on the recruitment process early to avoid a last minute rush, or a situation where the company will have to appoint an acting CEO.

“We do not want this thing of having an acting CEO. Also, applications for such positions are normally from people who are managers at their current employers and most companies require three months’ notice from employees who are planning to leave,” she said.

Uuyuni said Iipumbu did not indicate that he wants to stay on. “We (the board) are comfortable with what we are doing and he (Iipumbu) is aware of the process,” she said.

Uuyuni also questioned boards that allow CEOs to stay on for more than 10 years, saying it “does not bode well with corporate governance. Those that fight to stay on are normally the irresponsible ones, but that should not be the case, because we need to make room for new ideas,” Uuyuni said.

Telecom
The company wants a qualified CEO to develop and implement the Powercom corporate strategy and define deliverables for business profitability and long-term sustainability.

The successful candidate must also be able to provide leadership in identifying and resourcing major strategic projects that will add significant value to Powercom, or further the company’s strategic goal. “Suitably qualified applicants from designated groups as defined in the Affirmative Action Act are encouraged to apply,” reads the advert.

With Telecom having suffered financially over the past few years, the incoming CEO will be expected to develop business capacity and infrastructure in line with company strategy and operational requirements, as well as cost/benefit considerations. A “proven track record for managing major projects,” is another key requirement.
New Era understands that Telecom’s financial troubles are so deep that the company has informed its employees there will be no bonuses this year.

Meanwhile, the Namibia Competition Commission is expected to announce its succession plan on Friday, with current CEO Mihe Gaomab II slated to take up a new job as a director of the African Development Bank.

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