Agribank in spotlight over CEO position

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Windhoek

The Namibian Financial Institutions Union (Nafinu) is bemoaning the lowering of the educational requirements for the vacant CEO position at Agribank, saying this move has ruffled feathers among the people that are closely following the recruitment exercise.

Initially Agribank placed an advert looking for a suitable person with a master’s degree in commerce, finance, agriculture and economics to fill the vacant post.

However, the bank last week placed another advert lowering the requirement to that of a bachelor’s degree in commerce, finance and economics saying that of those interviewed “no suitable candidate was found”.

Nafinu general secretary Asnath Zamuee on Wednesday disputed the bank’s reasoning and accused the board chairperson Tertu Uyuni of lowering the requirement to accommodate her preferred candidate.

“It is obvious that the board chairperson has a preferred candidate who is ready to fill the position,” she claimed.
Uyuni was yesterday unavailable for comment and was said to be in a board meeting.

Agribank marketing and communications manager Rino Muranda said: “We did not see or receive the statement in which Nafinu made the unfortunate allegations and cannot respond at this point in time,” adding that he would try and obtain the statement and study it and if need be respond at an appropriate time.

In the meantime, he said, Agribank wished to reiterate its position that the board of the bank is currently seized with the matter of the recruitment of a CEO and does not want to be drawn into discussing it in the media until when the process is duly completed.

“All stakeholders, including the media, the trade unions and the general public will be informed on the outcome of the recruitment process once it is completed,” he said.

Zamuee says that just as with the other government owned banks the CEO position of Agribank should carry a minimum requirement of a master’s degree.

Zamuee says lowering the minimum requirement to that of a bachelor’s degree could be catastrophic in terms of the bank’s competitiveness.

“In today’s competitive world the position of CEO of a bank should carry a minimum requirement of a master’s degree,” she said.

However, Zamuee says the union is well aware that the appointment of the CEO is entirely at the discretion of the board but as stakeholders they just wanted to raise their concern.

Meanwhile, the contract of the long serving Agribank CEO Ambassador Leonard Iipumbu will end on June 31.
Iipumbu joined Agribank in February 2005 when he was appointed as CEO after serving as Namibian ambassador to France and the United States of America.

During his 10-year tenure at Agribank, Iipumbu is credited with transforming the bank into a more versatile and responsive financial institution towards meeting the mandate of promoting agriculture or activities related to agriculture by lending money to persons and/or financial intermediaries for purposes related to the development of the agriculture industry.

Under his leadership, Agribank’s growth and performance of the loan book averaged 8.5 percent over a period of ten years from a net worth of N$672 million in 2004 to N$1.8 billion in 2014.

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