MMI Holdings has announced that its long standing CEO Nicolaas Kruger will be stepping down with effect from 15 February 2018.
The company, which has brands including Momentum and Metropolitan, said the decision comes after a few months of discussions between Kruger and the board and follows a decline in the group’s financial performance.
“This process was managed in a manner that would ensure a smooth transition in the leadership of the group. The board wishes to thank Nicolaas for his contribution to the group and its people during his 26 years of service, with the last nine years as CEO – including two years as CEO of Momentum,” it said in a statement on Tuesday.
Kruger oversaw the successful merger between Momentum and Metropolitan to create MMI Holdings in 2010. The formation of MMI resulted in the third largest insurance company listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange at the time of the merger.
More recently, Kruger oversaw the establishment of a health insurance JV between MMI Holdings and Aditya Birla Capital in India.
“The board is pleased that Nicolaas has made himself available to serve on some subsidiary boards of the group. His extensive skill set, including his actuarial background, will also be used to good effect in some of the sub-committees of the MMI board,” MMI said.
The group said that Hillie Meyer has agreed to join MMI on a three-year contract as CEO of MMI Holdings. “Hillie is no stranger to the group, having served as the CEO of Momentum from 1996 to 2005,” it said.
Meyer is currently the managing partner of Nodus Investment Managers, a private equity investment company. He also served on the boards of Alexander Forbes Group Holdings Limited and General Reinsurance Africa Limited until recently.
The board also announced that Jeanette Marais will join the group as a second deputy CEO. Her appointment is effective 1 March 2018. Marais was previously an executive director at Allan Gray.
She will be responsible for the Momentum Investments centre of excellence, as well as certain marketing and distribution activities in the group.
Risto Ketola, current CFO of MMI Holdings, has been appointed the group’s financial director (FD). Ketola joined MMI in 2016 after spending 15 years as an equity research analyst at ING Barings, Deutsche Bank, and most recently at Standard Bank.
Mary Vilakazi was appointed as deputy CEO in July 2017. Her current focus is, and remains, to extract additional value by operationally integrating the group’s two retail operations (Momentum and Metropolitan). The two retail operations account for more than 60% of the group’s profits, MMI said.
“The board is aware of the fact that MMI’s performance has not met expectations in the more recent past, notwithstanding the difficult operating environment. The group has already implemented various remedial actions, such as significantly scaling down its geographic footprint in Africa and the UK, to enable an increased focus on building its core businesses in South Africa.
“The group is now also focusing on a narrower set of new initiatives such as the African Bank JV and the Aditya Birla JV,” MMI said.