Liberty Said to Name Stanlib CEO to Spearhead African Expansion

  • Gobalsamy said to oversee businesses expanding in Africa
  • Company said to make other changes as CEO undertakes review

South African insurer Liberty Holdings Ltd. plans to appoint the chief executive officer of its Stanlib asset management unit to oversee its expansion in the rest of the continent, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

Seelan Gobalsamy will start the role from March 1 as the company seeks to bring businesses with the strongest growth potential both inside South Africa and outside the country under one head, the people said, asking not to be identified because news of the change hasn’t been announced publicly. He’ll retain his role at Stanlib until a replacement is found, they said. The change was announced to staff on Feb. 17 and forms part of a strategic review Liberty CEO Thabo Dloti started in September, the people said.

Giles Heeger, the CEO of Liberty’s LibFin unit, will move into a new role created within Stanlib, where he will report to the asset-management unit’s CEO to bring all the company’s investment capabilities under one area, the people said. Chief Actuarial Officer David Jewell will be brought into Liberty’s retail business to strengthen the division and will be replaced as chief risk officer, the people said.

The management revamp was put in motion before an announcement on Jan. 27 that Liberty’s annual earnings per share dropped 40 percent to 60 percent, the people said.

Gobalsamy, appointed as CEO of Stanlib in March 2014, previously oversaw the three-year revamp of Liberty’s corporate business, and will focus on expanding the company’s life insurance and asset management business outside South Africa, the people said.  

Liberty late last year started making various “changes to further align our leadership team and increase management bandwidth to accelerate the execution of our strategy,” Liberty said in an e-mailed response to questions. It will provide clarity when it releases results on Friday, it said, declining to give further details. 

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