CEO, CFO positions vacant
Local, foreigners show interest
The process to appoint Managing Director for Cresta Marakanelo and Chief Finance Officer is said to be at an advanced stage. In an inquiry by this publication this week on the progress, Cresta group Board chairperson Maria Nthebolan indicated that the process is still on-going.
“The job was given to a consultant and we have been given an assurance by Cresta Marakanelo that they have done the interviews and the positions will be filled soon,” revealed Nthebolan, the former MD for Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) which partly owns Cresta.
Even though she could not be drawn to discuss the details on the process, Nthebolan could just mention that the positions have attracted quite a number of local and foreign applicants; before referring this publication to the Group HR Manager, Segomotso Banda. Banda was however said to be away from office and could only be available on Monday next week.
The Zimbabwean born Tawanda Makaya quit his plum post at the Botswana Stock Exchange listed hospitality company just weeks before Christmas in 2016. His resignation came after controversy over a financial scandal that involved him and the company’s CFO Valentine Mganga.
The two gentlemen were suspended in mid October 2016 after the company launched a probe on a potential financial irregularity involving money estimated at around P2.3 million. Currently, Glenn Stutchbury is Acting MD, whilst Chipo Mandela is Acting CFO. In its report for the financial year ended 31st December 2016, released last week, the group achieved revenue of P344million. This was a slight improvement from P320million in 2015.
In the statement signed by the Board chairperson, Nthebolan indicates that the group continues to face challenges in the Botswana market which is now nearing saturation point. She singled out increased competition and influx of new entrants, primarily in Gaborone and Francistown which have exerted pressure on the company’s market share. “Customer retention remains a key focus. The Cresta loyalty card programme continues to contribute significantly to the growth of the customer database. The company is exploring ways of increasing the benefits for the loyalty members by engaging in rewarding partnerships with service providers,” said Nthebolan. Meanwhile, the construction of the Ghanzi hotel project is yet to commence and is expected to start in the last quarter of 2017. At its Zambian operations, trading got affected by the August 2016 election which led to occupancies slightly going down. The group says occupancies started improving in November 2016 with revenue growing by 6 percent in Kwacha terms compared to 2015.
The group continues to explore other regional growth opportunities to further unlock shareholder value.