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Interview: Zembe spells out plans for CBZ group 

Zembe replaced Marc Holtzman who retired while Nyazema took over from Blessing Mudavanhu, whose contract expired.

CBZ Holdings (CBZH) last week made sweeping changes at the helm, appointing Luxon Zembe (LZ) as the acting chairman, and Lawrence Nyazema as chief executive officer.

Zembe replaced Marc Holtzman who retired while Nyazema took over from Blessing Mudavanhu, whose contract expired.

In this interview with our business editor Mthandazo Nyoni (MN), Zembe spells out his plans, including spreading wings to other countries in the region.

Below are excerpts from the interview: 

MN: CBZH has acquired a significant stake in First Mutual Holdings and is in the process of buying a controlling stake in ZB Financial Holdings Limited. What is the idea behind creating a huge financial institution in the country? 

LZ: CBZ has to date, acquired a significant portion of up to 36% stake in First Mutual Holdings.

 This is part of CBZ Holdings’ growth and expansion plan.

The CBZ and FML merger will introduce an exciting bancassurance model both locally and regionally.

The merger will also unlock scale and value and strengthen our businesses across the group.


MN: How will it benefit your customers? 

LZ: The major beneficiary of course will be our customers who will have an opportunity to enjoy various financial solutions all housed under one umbrella.

This is an exciting journey for the group and more will be shared in the public domain as we progress with the merger. 


MN: What are your short, medium, and long-term goals for CBZH as the new chairman? 

 LZ: In the short term, we intend to keep strengthening our current market share, supporting the internal controls and risk management measures to ensure a secure and compliant environment, fostering innovation and digital transformation and complying to corporate governance practices. 

As you are aware, CBZH acquired a significant stake in FMHL and we look forward to completing the transaction and integrating the entities in the medium term to start unlocking value.

The medium-term goal is to inspire the current ongoing efforts to expand the group’s product offerings to meet customer needs such as digital services, credit scoring, and investment options. 

We also aim to continue fostering the culture of innovation and digital transformation by exhausting the full potential of new technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to enhance operational efficiency and deliver better customer experiences. 


MN: Interesting. How about the long-term?

LZ: The long-term goal is to achieve sustainable growth and profitability by diversifying revenue streams, expanding into new markets, and adopting competitive strategies.

As part of our growth we also aim to develop a strong talent pipeline through employee training and development, and to foster corporate social responsibility through programs supporting community development, environmental sustainability, and ethical business practices.

MN: Are there plans to spread to other countries in the region or are you only focusing on Zimbabwe? 

LZ: I am happy to say there are already efforts in motion to expand into other countries in the region, and this approach aligns with the group’s long-term growth strategy.

By establishing a presence in the region, CBZ will establish itself as a competitive player in the region and capitalise on the growth trends and opportunities in those markets. 

MN: CBZH on Tuesday last week announced the departure of Marc Holtzman and Blessing Mudavanhu. What are the reasons behind their exit? Some speculate that they were pushed out by the shareholders. 

LZ: As per published statement, Holtzman retired from CBZH to pursue personal interests after a successful four years at the group.

Blessing Mudavanhu’s illustrious five-year contract comes to an end on the 31st of December and hence the separation. 


MN: There have been speculation in the market about CBZH ownership structure, with some alleging that the financial institution is controlled by Kuda Tagwirei. What is the correct position regarding CBZH ownership structure? 

LZ: CBZH is a public company with many shareholders in varying capacities.

We refer you to our shareholding structure on our investor relations page on the website. 


MN: What has been the impact of the United States imposed sanctions against Zimbabwe on the operations of CBZH? 

LZ: They have had limited impact on our operations and we remain committed to providing quality services to our customers.


MN: Please give us an update concerning the ZB Financial Holdings deal. 


LZ: Any major transaction CBZH would engage would be fully communicated through cautionary statements of which we refer you to our latest.

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