!gawaxab Opts for Early Retirement

A colossus in the Namibian business sector, Johannes !Gawaxab, who is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Old Mutual Africa, yesterday announced he would step down at the end of December 2014 and effectively go on early retirement four years ahead of the company’s retirement age. !Gawaxab has been with the Old Mutual Group for the past 16 years. “Smart leaders know when to move on and make way for others and find new arenas to add value. I am sure I am leaving behind companies in Old Mutual Africa that customers trust, stakeholders admire and respect, and which employees are proud to work for,” remarked !Gawaxab.

!Gawaxab, who started his journey with Old Mutual in 1998 as CEO of Old Mutual Asset Managers Namibia, has been instrumental in increasing Old Mutual Africa’s profit contribution to the group from N$128 million in 2006 to more than N$1 billion in 2013. During this time Old Mutual Africa’s assets under management also increased from N$22 billion to about N$64 billion.

“I would like to believe that we created value and peace of mind for our customers and shareholders, job security, growth and great careers for our employees and that I have significantly contributed to the economic development of Namibia,” said !Gawaxab yesterday during the announcement at the Old Mutual Tower in Windhoek’s central business district.

“I was a good ambassador for Namibia in business circles on the continent and the world and believe I have done Namibia proud. Yes, I was fortunate and had exposure locally and globally that I can only be thankful about. I have grown from a successful business executive to a global business leader and can stand my own anywhere in the world,” he added.

!Gawaxab was promoted to managing director of the Old Mutual Group Namibia in 2003. Today the company is rated among the top five companies in the country.

In March 2006 he was tasked to lead Old Mutual’s Africa business outside South Africa, namely in Namibia, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Malawi. Since then, !Gawaxab has played a major role in in the successful acquisition and integration of life and general insurance businesses in Nigeria, Ghana and Swaziland.

While he was asked to chair the Old Mutual Africa boards in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Namibia, and had received offers from the private sector in the United States and South Africa, !Gawaxab said he had not made up his mind yet about exactly what he would do once he stepped down.

Meanwhile speculation within the industry is rife about what !Gawaxab would do next.

Theories as to what he will do next range from full-time farming to a political career.

However !Gawaxab emphasized that he did not have any concrete plans.

!Gawaxab said the search for his successor has started and that he would have significant input on who would lead Old Mutual Africa once he left.

“We will be looking for my successor throughout Africa. What we need is someone who is tailor-made for the position. We need someone who is culturally aware and someone who possesses the necessary leadership for the group,” he noted.

Source : New Era