The Hollard Insurance Group, South Africa’s largest independent insurer, has appointed Saks Ntombela as Group Chief Executive Officer.
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.
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.”
“We have big ambitions and, despite the environment, I think we’re well-positioned to grow strongly over the next three to five years, particularly in the commercial insurance sector and in the lower-income segments of the life market. We will also continue to secure and develop long-term partnerships that deliver true value for insurance consumers.”
Hollard’s recent purchase of the Regent Insurance Group in a R1,8 billion deal saw the insurer cement its place as South Africa’s second largest short-term insurer and become the largest short-term insurer in Botswana, as well as entering its seventh African market (Lesotho). Says Ntombela, “Our international ventures are performing very strongly and will undoubtedly power much of our growth into the future. As well as optimising our current operations outside of SA, we are also actively exploring a number of additional opportunities in Africa at the moment.”
Paying tribute to Kohler, who will join parent company Yellowwoods to assist with managing its growing global insurance interests, Ntombela says, “Nic did a fantastic job in the 10 years he was here, transforming Hollard from a strong local player with some international interests into a truly global insurer, motivated by a higher purpose. 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.”