Britam Holdings CEO Tavaziva Madzinga quits after 10 months at the helm

KENYA – Insurance Group Britam Holdings has announced the planned exit of its managing director, Tavaziva Madzinga, after just 10 months in office in its latest executive shake-up.

Mr. Madzinga will officially leave Britam in April 2022, giving the company enough time to find his replacement.

The announcement comes barely 10 months after he joined the company on 1st February 2021 following the retirement of Benson Wairegi who had served in the company for more than four decades.

The insurer has also announced the appointment of Charles Njuguna as the deputy managing director, signaling internal succession planning at the company.

Mr. Njuguna is the current finance director and will retain his role under the new structure.

The company has also appointed Diane Korir as the customer experience director and Catherine Karita as the strategy and investor relations director.

This is emerging to be the biggest executive shake-up in corporate Kenya after the firm in March 2021 cut nearly half of its management team as the new CEO shook up the top decks of the Nairobi bourse-listed firm.

“I will be pursuing an opportunity in another market and this is part of succession planning. We wanted to signal the market very early appointing Charles as the new deputy managing director as we transition smoothly,” said Mr. Madzinga.

The planned exit comes at a time the actuarial scientist has instituted a radical restructuring of Britam operations, merging roles and reviewing contracts that saw most middle and top-level managers leave.

Britam says his turnaround plan has saved the company KSh500 million (US$4.4 million) in annual expenses through the voluntary early retirement (VER) program.

Mr. Madzinga said he was pleased with his achievement at Britam, having restructured the business into a customer-focused company, built a strong mix in the management team and improved the performance of the international business which has seen the insurer return to profitability.

Britam Group posted a KSh376.3 million (US$3.34 million) net profit in six months to June 2021, marking a recovery from KSh1.63 billion (US$14.5 million) net loss posted in 2020.

The company is emerging from a record KSh9.11 billion (US$81 million) net loss booked in the full year ended December 2020 and hopes to continue with recovery in the second half of the year.

The insurer’s profitability was bolstered by the regional general insurance business, which posted growth in gross earned premiums, with payments outside Kenya accounting for 24 percent of total premiums.

Britam has operations in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Mozambique and Malawi.

“We are grateful to have benefited from Mr. Madzinga’s global experience in repositioning the Group for the future. He has reset the Group’s focus towards serving our customers with empathy and care while providing a truly epic customer experience,” said acting Britam Chairman Mohamed Said Karama.

Mr. Madzinga, who previously served as chief executive of Old Mutual’s operation in Kenya, instituted one of the most radical shake-ups at Britam in recent times, eliminating nearly nine top executive positions.

The insurer now has a team of 11 managers from the previous 19, having scrapped the positions of the principal executive director, chief of staff, group chief operating officer, actuary and product development manager, commercial director and Britam asset management unit.

Britam also offered staff an early retirement package targeting about 138 workers or 10 to 15 percent of its total workforce, which stood at 923 in December 2019.

The firm says the exercise streamlined overlapping roles, removed duplications across the business, and re-evaluated contractual arrangements with value chain partners such as vendors and other service providers.

Britam’s corporate restructure appears to be one of the most significant in recent years after the largest one undertaken by KCB Group that led to the scrapping of some 15 executive directors’ posts.

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