Pay cut for BIHL CEO Hassam

Koobonye Ramokopelwa - BG reporter
Tuesday, 16 June 2015
Pay cut for BIHL CEO Hassam

The annual salary of the Chief Executive of Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited has been cut by more than P1 million after the company posted a modest increase on profit in the past year. Gaffer Hassam, who in 2013 saw his personal account bubbling to just over P5,1 million, was this time not lucky as he only managed to get P3,8 million in annual pay, according to the company’s annual report.

The report, which was made public this week, shows that the Malawian-born Hassam was receiving a monthly salary of P316,666 for 12 months to December 2014. In total, Hassam received P3,8 million, P1,3 million less than what he got last year in total pay. His contract, the Botswana Guardian learned this week, is coming to an end this year. The total pay for the Oxford Brooks University graduate included a salary (P2,2 million) and a cool P1,6 million as bonus. These figures easily make Hassam one of the highest earning chief executives of a domestically-listed company. Choppies’ Ram Ottapathu still leads the pack, netting P1 million on a monthly basis at the dual listed retail group.

But BIHL - which owns Botswana Life - did not disclose the reasons for slashing the former group financial chief’s salary at a time when the 40-year old company has lost key asset management tenders to both old and new players.  As if that was not enough, the group’s assets management arm, Botswana Investment Fund Management (BIFM), has since lost CEO Tiny Kgatlwane halfway through her contract. According to the company’s report, which is available for viewing on Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) website, executive directors’ pays are reviewed annually by human resources committee after “evaluating each executive director’s performance”.

For the year to December 2014, under Hassam, BIHL made a total profit of P505,6 million, marginally up compared to the P494,7 million made the year before. According to the company’s report, total assets have been growing steadily over the past 10 years to December 2014. During the period, assets rose from P6,9 billion in 2005 to P15 billion last year. Hassam’s company celebrates 40 years this week. As part of the celebration, Hassam will this afternoon (Friday) host editors at an ‘intimate’ lunch. On a related matter, the company’s board of directors received sitting allowances totaling P1,4 million during the period under review. Batsho Dambe-Groth chairs the board.

In the past year, the US-educated Groth was paid P229,000 for her duties as chairperson of the company which is majority owned by one of Africa’s biggest insurers, Sanlam. She also sits on the company’s audit and risk committee as well as human resources. Chandra Chauhan, who is also a chief executive of Sefalana, cashed in P201,000 for his role on the board. Puma Energy boss Mahube Mpugwa is also a member of the board. He was paid P135,000 as sitting allowance. All board members except the chairperson are each retained at a rate of P65,000. The chairperson is made to stay on the board at a flat rate of P85,000.

Other board members of the leading company include M. Seboni, A. Roux, R. Dommisse, H. Werth and J. Hincliffe. In the company’s annual report, it is pointed out that as BIHL turns 40, it plans to become a broad-based financial services company. The company also aims to roll out more products and services in the southern African region. BIHL also has operations in Zambia through BIFM. The plan to become a regional player is sometimes put on hold since the company cannot expand to regions where Sanlam has operations. On the BSE, the company’s stock is among the most traded. It has a market capitalization of P3,7 billion on the domestic bourse where its share price closed Wednesday at 1346 thebe.

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