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Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Next phase

The Board of Santam Limited and Mr Steffen Gilbert, the Chief Executive of Santam Limited, today announced a decision made by mutual agreement, whereby Mr Gilbert will step down as Santam CEO with immediate effect, thereafter serving a six-month notice period.

Mid-June saw the appointment of Ian Kirk (49), who is to succeed Gilbert as Chief Executive of Santam Limited. Mr Kirk was previously Chief Executive: Strategy and Special Projects at Sanlam Limited. He is also the former Deputy CEO of the Liberty Group and, prior to that, CEO of Capital Alliance Holdings until it was acquired by the Liberty Group in 2004. He has considerable non-life insurance experience.
Mr Gilbert was appointed as Santam’s Chief Executive in July 2003 to add momentum to the Group’s repositioning, specifically in the areas of setting strategic focus, reinsurance and client service. After successfully meeting these goals, as well as driving Santam’s capital reduction and share buyback programmes and initiating the Group’s Black Economic Empowerment transaction, it was agreed that a fresh approach was required to continue the good work.
Says Desmond Smith, chairman of Santam, “Steffen has been instrumental in improving the company’s operational performance and reinsurance synergies and the Board would like to thank him for his dedication and commitment.”
He added that the Board supported the current management team and had faith in the strategy on which Santam had embarked. It was confident that in appointing Ian Kirk, who has been a key member of Sanlam’s Executive committee, driving group wide growth, optimisation and capital management strategies, the new CEO fully understands and supports the strategic development of Santam.
Mr Kirk commented, “I welcome the opportunity to steer Santam through its next phase of development. It is a quality organisation, well positioned for continued growth, with a solid business model and outstanding people. It is a key component in Sanlam’s strategy of transforming into a world-class, diversified financial services group.”
Ian Kirk was born in Dublin in 1958 and qualified as an ACA (Ireland) in 1979. He joined PriceWaterhouse, Johannesburg in September 1981 and completed his CA (SA) in 1984, a H.Dip in Business Data Processing at WITS in 1985 and the Certified Information System Audit qualification in the same year.
Ian founded PriceWaterhouse’s insurance industry practice in 1989, and was appointed to run its Johannesburg office in 1994. In 1996, he joined AGA Holdings as Managing Director, prior to its restructuring into Capital Alliance Holdings Limited, one of the first broad-based black empowerment services companies in South Africa.
In December 2004, this company was sold to the Liberty Group in a transaction valued at R3,3 billion and Ian was appointed Deputy CEO of the Group in March 2005.
Upon the retirement of Myles Ruck and the appointment of Bruce Hemphill as Liberty CEO, Ian resigned from Liberty with effect from 28th February 2006.

Copyright © Insurance Times and Investments® Vol:20.7 1st August, 2007
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