The newly appointed Letshego Holdings Limited Managing Director Smit Crouse has shared with the local media his immediate plans for the listed Pan African financial services group.
Crouse, a former senior executive at South Africa’s Nedbank Group, was introduced to the local media on Monday – his first day at work at the multinational financial group which has presence in 11 African countries.
The former senior executive and special advisor to the International Finance Corporation (IFC) takes over from Chris Low who left the group recently under a cloud.
“In terms of my first 100 days I have got a systematic approach to that and has basically three areas,” Crouse said during his maiden press conference, saying the first one would be to listen.
He explained that it is important to listen and get to an appreciation of the views of all the stakeholders, which would be customers, people who work for Letshego, regulators, shareholders and the media as well, the latter which he has promised to keep in constant contact with.
“It is important for me to communicate as much as possible, but before I communicate is is important to listen,” he said, adding that as much as he is going listen, he has on his first day taken an executive decision to extend the lease of Letshego house which was coming to an end.
Crouse said he already heard claims flying around that Letshego Groupwa planning to ditch Botswana and relocate to South Africa. Crouse insisted that Botswana was the root of the group and hence it is important for business to operate from a position of strength.
“You can never neglect your strength, your roots and your core,” he said.
The second area that Crouse said he will be putting his focus on is to learn, explaining that learning comprises many things. He said as much as it is important to learn the culture of the organisation, it is equally important to know the health of the organisation, to determine if it is in a good shape.
“If you look at the core of business, whatever we do, we do loans, savings and many, but – is the business healthy? That question needs to be answered and I need to be comfortable with that,” he said.
Crouse said Letshego is a public organisation and it is important for him in his engagements to know that he is comfortable with whatever it is that he sharing.
The third priority, he said, is supporting his employees.
“People have different management styles, leadership styles and I am someone who likes to lead the people,” Crouse said, adding that normally when a new CEO arrives people naturally get distracted.
He said his aim is to be extremely transparent and open with all staff members, further adding that his leadership will be more like facilitative role.
Coming in during the time when the group is implementing its strategy and in line with what he aims to achieve, Crouse said the strategy is a difficult one which he will have to look at.
“I am comfortable with what we have got currently, but as I have said, we need to review the health of the business,” said Crouse, saying strategically they need to go through a phase of making sure that they are focusing.
He said when one has businesses all over the continent, it is important to focus, adding that the line of business of Letshego requires extreme simplicity in his view. With things changing fast with the coming in of financial technologies, commonly referred to as Fintechs, Crouse said it is extremely important to remain focused.
He said as part of his first 100 days in office, part of the work will be to find out from the customers how they feel about products offered by Letshego.
“I want our strategy to result in walking into the streets, asking people about Letshego and to hear that there is simplicity; is it an organisation that serves them well. We are their first go-to if they need financial services. I want people to come to us first,” he said, insisting that if the strategy does not result in these it will be reviewed.