Windhoek-After 11 years as Chief Executive Officer of the Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG), Johny Smith ended months of speculation when he finally took over the reins of beleaguered state-owned enterprise, TransNamib, on Friday. Smith, who holds a B Comm degree and a Masters in Business Administration, also serves as the chairperson for the Alliance for Corridor Management in Africa, chairperson of Telecom Namibia and commissioner of the National Planning Commission.
In October last year, Cabinet approved Smith’s appointment to lead TransNamib into the promised land of profitability to stop the SOE’s drainage of public coffers.
Smith’s appointment was confirmed by TransNamib Board Chairperson, Paul Smit, who told local media: “After a thorough and rigorous search process we are delighted that Johny Smith has agreed to join TransNamib as its CEO. He has excellent business experience and the drive to help us take TransNamib to the next level of growth and development. We look forward to working with him and the executive team in transforming the company and building a railway network fit for the future”.
He added that the new CEO is well-suited for the position with more than 25 years commercial experience in the fields of telecommunications, land and sea transportation. Smit recently said that running TransNamib unprofitably and contrary to well-established business principles cannot continue, and has to change starting with the appointment of a new CEO.
Smith, a well-known veteran of the logistics industry, bid farewell to the WBCG on Wednesday. Extending his well wishes and gratitude, Chairman of the WBCG Board of Directors, Bisey Uirab, indicated that Smith’s visionary leadership and commitment to seeing results, helped develop the corridor concept not only in Namibia but also in Africa and the world over.
“Through Johny Smith’s hard work, the Namibian corridors today are well known for being a significant contributor to development of the country,” Uirab indicated. He noted that the WBCG board was sad to lose Smith at a point when corridor development is contemplated and the significant role that the logistics hub under the leadership of WBCG would play.
“However, the board is happy that he will continue to play a significant role in the development of the Corridor Group by virtue of his new role.”
Reminiscing about his time at WBCG, Smith stated: “I view my journey at WBCG as an experience of a lifetime. I have been very fortunate to be part of a Public Private Partnership where we were able to transform and lead the transport and logistics sector from a Namibian perspective”.
Smith received numerous accolades while at the helm of the WBCG, including CEO for Logistics Award in Africa. He also led the corridor concept for Namibia as a best practice that has become a best model for corridor development on the continent and at global level.
Clive Smith, current Project Manager: Logistics Hub at the WBCG has been appointed as Acting CEO until the Board of Directors make a permanent appointment. He has 20 years of commercial and management experience having previously held various developmental and management roles in the banking, fishing, transport and logistics sectors.
Looking forward to this new challenge of steering the Corridor Group in the interim, Clive Smith explains, “I maintain a high level of performance driven by an inherent urge to make tangible contribution towards the improvement of business ideals. Resultantly, I am humbled by the confidence bestowed on me by our Board of Directors to lead WBCG during this exciting period as we continue to position Namibia as the preferred gateway for trade in Southern Africa. A core focus during this period of transition would be ongoing stakeholder engagements, whilst at the same time enhancing our business development activities through our regional offices to ensure we remain steadfast to our core mandate, that of attracting volumes to our corridors.”
Clive Smith is currently serving on the board of Roads Authority as well as the Namibia Trade Forum. He additionally is a member of the Steering Committee of the National Logistics Master Plan, the Technical Committee of the National Single Window Project and was the Deputy Chair for the Transport Thematic Working Group responsible for the development of the current National Development Plan 5.
The outgoing CEO thanks the Board of Directors, his team, co-opted members and strategic partners in Namibia, the SADC region and the international community for their support, commitment and perseverance. “You are central to WBCG’s ability to provide high-quality transport, logistics and wellbeing services to our customers. I have full confidence in the team and Clive Smith who will be leading them during the next few months to further develop our corridors to create more value for Namibia and the SADC region,” said Smith.