Momentum Metropolitan Board appoints Jeanette Marais as Group CEO

26 May 2023 Momentum Metropolitan
Jeanette Marais

Jeanette Marais

Internal appointment ensures continuity of execution

Momentum Metropolitan has appointed Jeanette Marais as Group CEO effective 1 August 2023, making her the first female CEO of a large, listed life insurance and asset management group in South Africa. Jeanette will succeed Hillie Meyer, who was appointed as Group CEO for a fixed term of five years in February 2018. Having served the Group for a little more than five years, Hillie will retire on 30 September after a brief handover period.

Jeanette joined Momentum Metropolitan as Deputy Group CEO in 2018, and currently has executive oversight over a portfolio of businesses, including Momentum Investments, Momentum Distribution Services, Consult by Momentum and Momentum Money. Under her leadership Momentum Investments has grown its normalised headline earnings from R271 million in the 2018 financial year (FY2018) to R940 million in FY2022. Value of new business increased from R80 million to R346 million over the last five years.

With an Executive MBA (cum laude) from the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne, Switzerland, and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of the Free State, Jeanette cut her business teeth in her first corporate stretch at Momentum from 1990 to 1999, after which she gained valuable experience as a C-suite executive at other financial services firms in South Africa. This decades-long executive career has enabled her with the requisite and relevant industry experience.

Paul Baloyi, Chairperson of Momentum Metropolitan, expressed his satisfaction with the appointment: “After undergoing a rigorous, robust and thorough selection process, Jeanette emerged as the best candidate. I am pleased that this appointment represents a significant breakthrough in diversity, and I am proud that we found the best person for the job inside our company. This ensures leadership continuity and a continued focus on strategy execution.

“Having been a key contributor to the Group’s evolution since 2018, Jeanette holds intimate knowledge of Momentum Metropolitan’s strategy, business areas and culture. She truly understands the current industry environment, the unique set of demands on the business and what is required for the business to succeed. It is a challenging operating environment, and Jeanette’s passion, energy and focus on doing what is best for the Group, set her up well to continue the company’s growth trajectory.

“Jeanette will be assisted by a strong and established executive team, and we anticipate that she will work well with the Board and senior colleagues to shape and guide the business,” Baloyi concluded.

Jeanette says she considers it a privilege to be trusted by the Board and the company’s senior leadership to take the reins: “This is full circle for me; It was Momentum that provided the very first growth and leadership opportunities in my career. I am honoured that I get the chance to give back and lead this company that is so close to my heart.

“I thank Hillie for his exceptional leadership over the last five years, during which he streamlined Momentum Metropolitan’s structure, refocused the strategy and unleashed the Group’s potential. I am excited to work with the leadership team to further harness the company’s strong brands and talented people, and to successfully execute our growth plans,” she concludes.

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