Women set to take over as CEOs at Stanchart, NDB

With the appointment of two new women CEOs at two of the country's biggest financial institutions, Batswana women continue to climb up the corporate ladder.

According to banking sector sources, Serty Leburu is set to take over from David Cutting at Botswana's oldest bank, Standard Chartered Bank, becoming not only the first woman, but the first Motswana ever, to head the bank in its 113 years in the country.

Formerly Chief Financial Officer, Leburu was last month appointed Deputy CEO from where market sources say she will understudy Cutting.

Cutting's contract will end around August this year, but it is still unclear when Leburu will take over from the West Indian banker.

Previously, Standard Chartered Bank did not have a Deputy CEO, and market sources say Leburu's position has been specially created for her to learn the ropes before taking over. The move is similar to what happened at Stanbic Bank Botswana two years ago where current MD Leina Gabaraane understudied Dennis Kennedy for a year before taking over.

Stanchart's Head of Corporate Affairs, Ithabeleng Letsunyane, has only confirmed Leburu's appointment as Deputy CEO but would not elaborate. "At the moment, I cannot comment about when David Cutting is going to be leaving," she said. "Neither can I talk about when Serty will be appointed CEO."

As Leburu rises at Stanchart, another woman, Lorato Morapedi, is set to take the reigns at the National Development Bank.

Currently Deputy CEO at CEDA (Operations), Morapedi will take over from Oaitse Ramasedi who left NDB last year to become CEO (Acting) at the relatively new entity, the Non Banking Financial institution Regulatory Authority (NBFIRA).

NDB chairperson Lesedi Seitei has confirmed the appointment of Morapedi. "At the moment I can only confirm the appointment and she will start on May 1," Seitei said. "Further details such as the tenure of her contract will be communicated at a later stage."

When Leburu takes over from Cutting at Stanchart later this year, it will mean the country's top four banks (FNBB, Barclays, Stanchart and Stanbic) are now  headed by Batswana and that all three of Botswana's largest listed financial firms (FNBB, Stanchart and BIHL) are headed by women.

Regina Sikalesele-Vaka recently took over as the new CEO of the expanded BIHL group. Morapedi will be expected to carry the bank to a new phase if its privatisation plans go through.

NDB will become the first government-owned financial institution to be privatised, breaking the rigid structure in the local financial industry where all institutions are either government- or majority-owned by foreign multinationals.

The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning is expected to table a bill spelling out the privatisation strategy for NDB before the August sitting of Parliament.

The strategy was finalised last year after an extensive consultation process with its beginnings in a 2006 decision by the government to abandon a merger with the Botswana Savings Bank and pursue NDB's privatisation instead.

Two years ago, the Public Enterprises Evaluation and Privatisation Agency (PEEPA) engaged Nedbank Capital to produce a privatisation strategy, which has since received input from NDB management, its board and staff. The process culminated in a Stakeholder Conference in June last year.

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