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Alex Forbes snags Sanlam exec as new CEO

Sanlam employee benefits CEO Dawie de Villiers to head Alex Forbes as Sanlam announces Jocelyn Hathaway as interim CEO of business unit.

Alexander Forbes has appointed Dawie de Villiers as its new CEO, less than a week after announcing the the termination of former CEO Andrew Darfoor’s contract. 

Read: Alex Forbes CEO fired

He will assume the position of group CEO and as a director of the company from November 1, 2018 as well as director of a number of the company’s subsidiary boards, it said in a Sens announcement

De Villiers is currently employed by Sanlam as CEO of its employee benefits business, a position which he will vacate on October 31, 2018. He joined Sanlam in 1993 and has spent 25 years with the company. 

“Dawie has added significant value to Sanlam during his tenure over the past 25 years. SEB, which is part of Sanlam Corporate, is a resilient business with a strong leadership team and highly capable staff. I am confident that we have a team with the requisite capacity and commitment to sustain the performance of the business until we can appoint a new chief executive for the business. We respect and appreciate Dawie’s decision to further advance his career and wish him well for the future,” said Temba Mvusi, acting CEO of Sanlam Corporate.

Sanlam has appointed Jocelyn Hathaway as interim CEO of Sanlam Employee Benefits. Hathaway joined Sanlam in 2011 and currently holds the position of head of finance and operations at Sanlam Corporate. A B.Com and University of Cape Town MBA graduate, she also has 25 years of experience in the financial services industry.

Alexander Forbes announced the dismissal of former CEO Andrew Darfoor with immediate effect last week, saying only that the decision flowed from a “loss of  confidence and trust”.

Read: Darfoor dismissal raises questions about ‘Ambition 2022’ plan at Alex Forbes 

As reported by Moneyweb, Darfoor’s exit raised questions about the turnaround of South Africa’s largest pensions administrator. The former chief executive had implemented a five-year, five-pillar strategy dubbed Ambition 2022, in 2017. 

Last week, Darfoor told Moneyweb that he was mandated to execute the transformation and turnaround strategy, which was again ratified by the company in March 2018. He added that Alexander Forbes reported tangible progress against the strategy in its results for the year ended March 2018.  

 Alexander Forbes has declined to comment further on both Darfoor’s axing and de Villiers appointment.  

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At last – a CEO from a) the SA Financial Services industry and b) South Africa. Given he is an actuary as well, I am sure he will rebuild AF’s actuarial capability’s which, once the envy of the market, were decimated under Darfoor. What a pleasure it will be to have a CEO who understands the intricacies of the local market, what makes clients tick and a CEO with a track record of placing his people at the heart of the business. Hopefully, to complete the healing process, he will very rapidly be shot of the other “toxic” elements on Darfoors remaining Exco.

Best of luck Mr De Villiers. A wonderful opportunity to take this great business and its loyal people forward.

Congratulations and best wishes. Make AF great again.

Again ? – When were they ever great !

In my opinion during the 90s AF was a world class company.

There is no doubt that Alexander Forbes has finally appointed a leader who is a familiar with the intricacies of the South African financial services industry. However he has a tough task ahead to restore trust, confidence and a true people first culture to Alexander Forbes. There is a window of opportunity to show the staff and the market place that things are changing for the better. I wish him everything of the best for his new role and hope that he does what needs to be done sooner rather than later.

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