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June 2013

New Chief Executive for Mutual and Federal

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Mutual & Federal, a member of the Old Mutual Group, announced today that it has appointed Raimund Snyders as chief executive, following Peter Todd’s decision to resign in order to pursue other business interests.

In an interview with RISKSA, Mike Harper, chairman of Mutual & Federal, acknowledged that this kind of transition can be very disruptive and difficult to deal with, but emphasised that this is not a change in direction for Mutual & Federal and continuity will be maintained.

“In light of this, we did not want to go to market in search of a new CEO, rather, we wanted to bring somebody in who would continue to do the work that Peter has been doing. Raimund brings knowledge of our Africa operations, the South African advisory market and Old Mutual’s approach to distribution. In having to move quickly, we can rely on Raimund to continue Peter’s work,” he explains.

Snyders is currently the chief operating officer and head of distribution for Old Mutual’s African operations. He joined Old Mutual in 1990 and has operated in a variety of roles within Old Mutual South Africa (OMSA), including CEO of the life company in Namibia before heading the personal financial advice distribution business.

He is a qualified advocate by profession and brings a wealth of knowledge of the industry and the Old Mutual Group to the role.

During his tenure as CEO, Todd brought about significant strategic change, by strengthening the executive team, simplifying the organisational structure and building a customer-centric culture, supported by vastly improved information technology and a closer alignment with Old Mutual on the iWYZE and Africa initiatives.

“With the expanding cooperation between OMSA and Mutual & Federal in the creation of iWYZE and stated strategy to expand further into Africa, Raimund’s background is ideal to lead the Mutual & Federal business into its next phase of growth,” says Harper.

“We wish Peter all the best in his future endeavors and thank him for his leadership of Mutual & Federal during his tenure as CEO. The staff members will be sorry to see him go and will be disappointed. But we would like to assure them staff that Mutual & Federal remains an important business and a key part of the Old Mutual group. The fact that we are using group resources, in appointing Raimund, sends a positive message”

Todd will remain with Mutual & Federal until the end of September, ensuring a smooth transition through that period.

Change in M&F structure

Harper told us that the major piece of work currently underway is Mutual & Federal’s move into a divisional structure, which Todd has been driving. The short-term insurer plans to focus on three pillars, namely, corporate, commercial and personal lines, and will appoint executives to run each pillar. The change in structure is being announced later today, but the relevant appointments are still being made.

On brokers, Harper assured us that the broker market will remain incredibly important to Mutual & Federal, which will continue supporting its brokers in a tough operating and regulatory environment.

On Mutual & Federal’s recent partnership with FNB Insurance Direct, Harper notes, “We have had longstanding relationships with all the major banks over a period of time and will be providing Nedbank with the same support. Bancassurance is an important channel to customers. Banks offer distribution expertise and we have the insurance expertise, so it is a good fit.”

Hanna Berry – Risk SA

Meyer is ” loyal to performance “

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Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer believes the form-based selections in his squad prove that he is ‘loyal to performance’.

Meyer sprung a few surprises at Newlands on Saturday when he announced his squad for the incoming tour this month with nine uncapped players in an inflated group of 34.

With some players still recovering from injury Meyer opted for a larger squad with one eye on the upcoming Rugby Championship as well.

“It is great to have a bigger squad because we can train better, and we also want to use this squad to prepare for the Rugby Championship,” he said.

Meyer said that he did his best to reward players who have shown good form in Super Rugby this year.

“The great thing is there are nine uncapped players, and six guys who are in the squad for the first time. It shows the players that if you really play hard in Super Rugby there is always a chance to play for your country,” he said.

Whilst the selection of promising young players such as Jan Serfontein and Pieter-Step du Toit was widely anticipated the biggest surprise was the selection of Cheetahs tighthead prop Lourens Adriaanse who did not attend the most recent Springbok camp in Durban but was picked ahead of the Sharks’ Wiehan Herbst.

Meyer explained that with many Cheetahs players set to play an impact role for the Boks from the bench, Adriaanse’s established partnership with the other Cheetahs forwards tipped the scales in his favour.

“I always said that we were going to look at players outside the squad. In a sense it is quite tough on the other guys but Lourens has been in great form, and I think if you look at the whole Free State pack probably quite a lot of those guys will be impact players coming off the bench and I just felt in the end that they are a good combination,” he said.

Two other Cheetahs players to get their first sniff of the Green and Gold are Lappies Labuschagne and Willie le Roux, whose Super Rugby form was simply too good for Meyer to ignore.

Meyer said that Le Roux could give the Boks the kind of creativity that they have missed in the past, while his ability to play at fullback also counted in his favour.

“I had a great chat with Willie on the camp, I think he brings the x-factor that we probably need at times.

“We want to improve our backline play and score more tries and he has been awesome this year so it is well-deserved,” said Meyer.

The Bok boss added that the selection of Labuschagne was due recognition for his consistent form.

“Lappies has really played well the whole year and I want to prove to the players that I am loyal to performance, I don’t have favourites although the public probably thinks so,” he said.

Meyer explained that while he will probably not rush any of the new players into the starting line-up, he is keen to see what they can do when introduced from the bench.

“A lot of these youngsters will be great players in the future so I definitely want to give one or two of them chances from the bench and see how they perform at the highest level,” he said.

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