Financial services firm Old Mutual limited has announced the appoint of acting chief executive officer Iain Williamson as its permanent head.
The move ends more than a year of uncertainty over who will lead one of South Africa biggest insurers following the suspension and subsequent sacking of former CEO Peter Moyo in June 2019 after a conflicts of interest dispute.
Old Mutual said it had conducted a “comprehensive global search” but in the end choose Williamson, an actuary who has spent almost three decades at the Johannesburg based company.
Chairman Trevor Manuel was pleased with appointment of Williamson who has held several key positions within the company including managing of its retail-affluent division, finance director of the emerging -markets business and chief operating officer.
“His steady hand, strategic mind, and authentic leadership style has been both refreshing and truly welcomed” Manuel said.
Williamson will now be taxed with 175-year-old insurance performance – and reputation – which was dealt a hefty blow following the saga with Moyo. The coronavirus crisis also hasn’t helped the company cost either pushing profit further down.
Old Mutual announced on May 28 that first half profit was expected to fall at least 20% as business shutdowns hamper insurance ability to distribute its products.
Many of the company’s advisers and branch consultancy were not able to meet with client between April and May when lockdown restricted the movement of people and goods across South Africa.
But investors also welcomed the “much needed certainty” the appointment of Williamson provides.
“Iain provides Old Mutual with stability and continuity of knowledge which are invaluable in times of extreme change”, said Warwick barn, head of research at Avior Capital Market in an interview with Reuters.
Old Mutual stock has dropped 36% this year.