Barclays MD race heats up

van der Merwe leaves in March
van der Merwe leaves in March

The race to the helm of Barclays Bank Botswana has tightened, two months before the current managing director (MD), Reinette van der Merwe’s scheduled departure, BusinessWeek has learnt.

Barclays, the country’s second biggest bank by balance sheet, is entering a precarious period in which the new MD will have to manage the organisation’s transformation into the Absa Group, from Barclays PLC.

Industry insiders told BusinessWeek that while Barclays’ chief operating officer (COO), Keabetswe Pheko-Moshagane remained the front-runner for the position; Bashi Gaetsaloe’s recent departure from the Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) had fuelled speculation that his name could be added to the hat.

Gaetsaloe left the BDC after five years, resigning with immediate effect and fuelling speculation about the reasons behind his exit.


Barclays former COO and one time acting MD, Aupa Monyatsi, has been linked with a possible return to the bank’s top office. Monyatsi is presently Barclays Africa head of Alternative Business Models.

Van der Merwe is finalising a six-month extension to her original five-year contract, ending in March. “Pheko-Moshagane was long earmarked for that position and she has been being groomed for it,” authoritative sources close to the matter told BusinessWeek.

“The extension in September was actually to allow a smooth handover from Van der Merwe to the COO.

“However, with the names now coming through, it’s not clear which way the board will go.”

Ahead of Van der Merwe’s departure, Barclays board has to forward a name and qualifications to the Bank of Botswana for approval as new MD. The central bank, in turn, conducts a thorough assessment of the candidate proposed, focusing on the bigger picture of banking sector stability.

The bank’s spokesperson, Spencer Moreri told BusinessWeek an official announcement would be made once all processes had been finalised.

“The board is responsible for the recruitment of the new MD and there has been no decision on that as yet.

“There will be an announcement at the appropriate time. Everything else is speculation for now because the process is ongoing.”

Van der Merwe is credited with turning Barclays’ fortunes around from a dark period of depressed profits between 2012 and 2013, characterised by high non-performing loans.

Barclays reported after-tax profits of P201.1 million for the six months ended June 30, 2018.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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