AfrAsia mulls job cuts

HARARE - AfrAsia Kingdom Zimbabwe Limited (AKZL) is retrenching part of its staff under a “voluntary separation exercise”, businessdaily has established.

The financial services group recently said it was restructuring or streamlining operations as part of strategies to contain costs and improve efficiency.

According to documents in our possession, AKZL’s acting human resources head Lawrence Zimunhu has written to staff advising that the group had “made a decision at board level to take the route of voluntary separation in an effort to align business to the group’s strategy.”

“This is being done purely to reduce our numbers mainly at middle management level so that business is sustainable.... Any staff member can take the opportunity to apply freely for separation,” said Zimunhu in the communiqué.

He said the exercise will run until 2015.

“Remember that on a scheme of this nature, management reserves the right to either accept or reject applications from employees deemed to be critical to the operations of AKZL and its subsidiaries,” Zimunhu said.

He added that employees who choose to stick it out with the organisation and those whose resignation applications would have been rejected could be transferred from their respective departments.

“This exercise will be done diligently taking cognisance of specialised skills on staff and the gaps that will be created by implementing the process of voluntary separation,” said Zimunhu.

Sekai Chitemerere, AKZL’s communications head, said: “AKZL is introducing a voluntary separation scheme for staff within the group.

This is a voluntary process with staff free to make their appropriate choices. The staff complement that AKZL will retain after this exercise will be determined by the response rate.”

She added that the voluntary separation scheme is part of a review of the group’s business operations in line with changing market conditions.

Last week, Chitemere told businessdaily that the “group believes that a lean, focused and efficient structure is ideal in this environment and it will steer AKZL to achieve its strategic goals.”

These developments come as AKZL’s flagship subsidiary Kingdom Bank(’s) managing director Francois Molife and the group’s human resources head Kuda Makwara resigned recently.

Molife and Makwara’s departure came hard on the heels of a restructuring of the group’s board in February following the acquisition of a 35 percent stake in AKZL, then Kingdom Financial Holdings Limited, by Mauritius-based AfrAsia Bank Limited (Afrasia) in a $9,5 million deal.

Apart from the restructuring exercise, Chitemerere said the group was reviewing its product and service offering and had already off loaded its securities brokerage subsidiary Kingdom Stockbrokers (Private) Limited as part of its strategic refocus. This comes amid speculation that the group’s banking subsidiary might focus more on investment banking rather than commercial banking.

“These and other planned initiatives are expected to assist the group to improve operational efficiency, manage costs, grow revenues from profitable product lines and prepare for organic and acquisitive growth as the economy improves,” added Chitemerere.

AKZL appointed James Benoit, Kamben Padayachy, Jill Rickard and Brian Fredrick as non-executive directors following the AfrAsia deal.

Savious Mushosho was appointed group financial director.

The group, which has plans to expand on the continent, said the move helped embrace diversity and achieve the goal to penetrate emerging markets with a global focus. - Kudzai Chawafambira

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.