Hollards’ newly appointed CEO speaks to FAnews

02 August 2017 Myra Knoesen
Saks Ntombela. Hollards' news CEO and Rianet Whitehead, FAnews Editor

Saks Ntombela. Hollards' news CEO and Rianet Whitehead, FAnews Editor

Hollard’s values underpin the heart and soul of the company and are designed to outlast any physical structure or business strategy.

Hollard is about more than just getting things done and believes that relationships matter, empowering people makes a difference, believes in the power of diversity, working together in pursuit of the same big dream, communicating expectations clearly and, the company thrives on great performance and celebrates its successes whole heartedly.

These values hold close to newly appointed Chief Executive Officer, Saks Ntombela, who spoke to FAnews about his new position and what the future holds.

Taking the reigns

Ntombela will assume the role on 1 October, taking over from current CEO, Nic Kohler, who announced in January that he would step down after 10 years at the helm.

Ntombela joined Hollard five years ago as head of its fledgling life and investments area, having previously served as Head of Retail Banking Product and Segments at ABSA. Prior to that Ntombela held a number of executive positions at Nedbank, where he was most latterly responsible for the Bank’s retail business.

A Bachelor of Science Mechanical Engineering graduate from the University of Natal, Ntombela is also a graduate of the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business and has completed the Advanced Management Programme at Harvard Business School in Boston.

Forging ahead in the market

Speaking after the announcement, Ntombela said, “I have enjoyed working with a really passionate team in Hollard’s life and investments space over the last five years, and am really looking forward to working with the rest of this amazing organisation as we forge ahead in a difficult market.”

When asked what his vision and goals are for the future, Ntombela emphasised that transformation and diversity is good for business and that is what Hollard believes in.

“I am a strong believer in communication. It takes time to learn a system and there are different ways to communicate. I believe in our purpose, culture and values and Hollard has created the environment we already have so there is no need to change anything which is one of the reasons why people stay with Hollard. We believe in doing well by doing good and we will continue doing that.”

When asked what his key strengths are Ntombela said he is good at building teams that perform. “I believe you have to BREAK employ people who are better experienced and more knowledgeable than you and then your role as a leader is to make sure you all handle and achieve things together. So it is about getting alignment, agreeing on strategies, timelines and delivering a good service.”

“There are people out there who are good at what they do but Hollard believes there is always a better way to improve,” he continued.

In looking towards the future and what challenges he faces, Ntombela said nothing prepares you for the CEO role. It is about having the right people in the right environment. “The challenge will be to prioritise what I need to focus on and supporting my team to achieve its objectives in order to deliver.”

Value, growth and partnerships

“We will also continue to secure and develop long-term partnerships that deliver true value for insurance consumers. We are always going to need brokers. We need to work together. Brokers are an important part of our business and I am looking forward to getting to know our top brokers and supporters and understanding what their needs are and serving and providing value to them.”

Paying tribute to Kohler, Ntombela said, “Nic did a fantastic job in the 10 years he was here, transforming Hollard from a strong local player into a truly global insurer. I plan to build on the good work that he did, ensuring that our growth is sustainable and inclusive, that we deliver increasing social dividends alongside strong financial dividends, and that we become the favourite insurer in each of the countries in which we operate.”

Editor’s Thoughts;
FAnews bids farewell to current CEO Kohler and wishes Ntombela all the best in his new role as CEO of Hollard. Please comment below, interact with us on Twitter at @fanews_online  or email me your thoughts.

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