Outgoing CBZ Holdings (CBZH) chief executive officer Never Nyemudzo has said he retired from the group “to rest and take care of the children”.
BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA
The group announced yesterday that the banker will be retiring from the group with effect from December 31 after three years at the helm.
Nyemudzo told NewsDay that he retired voluntarily and was not forced out by the CBZH board.
“I wanted to rest. This is a highest speed lane when you are leading such an institution, so you end up thinking of resting. I have been there since 2008, so this is year number 10 at CBZ, so it is not a short time,” he said.
“I am resting and taking care of the children.”
He said his decision to step down had nothing to do with concerns raised by the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) over bad corporate governance practices at CBZH in which the group was paying then board chairman Elliot Mugamu perks commensurate with those paid to executive directors.
This was after it came to light that some CBZH executives were receiving excessive remuneration packages proven by the lavish lifestyles they were leading, while the institution paid paltry dividends to shareholders.
Mugamu was forced out and Noah Matimba took over as the board chairman.
No comment could be obtained from NSSA board chair Robin Vela, who in the past wanted an extraordinary general meeting of shareholders. He did not respond to messages sent on his WhatsApp.
In a statement, CBZH said the group’s banking division managing director Peter Zimunya would be at the helm, in an acting capacity.
“The board acknowledges Never’s leadership and service to the group having joined the group in 2008 as the group finance director and his subsequent appointment as group chief executive officer in 2014,” group legal corporate secretary Rumbidzayi Jakanani said.
Considering CBZH is the biggest financial institution, analysts have questioned the timing of his retirement.
Financial expert Persistence Gwanyanya said it would be interesting to find out the reason behind Nyemudzo’s departure.
“It has got a very significant bearing on the whole financial system given that CBZ Bank is the biggest bank in Zimbabwe, so what will be important to understand are the circumstances around his resignation. If it is something to do with the management of the institution itself, it has greater ramifications on the soundness or health of the financial services sector in Zimbabwe,” he said.
In Nyemudzo’s first year as CEO, back in 2014, CBZH closed the year having a decline in profit after tax of 9,87% to $33,03 million blamed on the economic performance. The following year, CBZH increased its profit after tax by 6,7% to $35,2 million followed by 2016, where it saw a huge 32,5% drop to $28,3 million from the previous year on the back of a decline in net interest income.
At half year ending June, CBZH registered an 0,8% uptick in profit after tax to $11,95 million from the comparable period in 2016.