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Mpai enters boardroom of crises-marred Choppies

Publishing Date : 03 December, 2018

Author : TSAONE SEGAETSHO

Finance guru Wilfred Mpai is set to replace the resigned Sydney Muller as an independent non-executive director of Choppies and his appointment to the board is expected to be approved by stakeholders at the yet to be announced company Annual General Meeting(AGM).  


Mpai’s appointment which will be with effect from 22 November 2018 was announced by the company in a circular this week. His appointment comes after South African national Muller’s exit from the board amid Choppies suspension from Botswana Stock Exchange, a move which was seen to be jumping out of the troubled ship by sources following the company’s continued prone to controversy. The company would not reveal Muller’s reasons for quitting but went ahead and found a replacement which is subject to shareholders’ confirmation to Choppies AGM.


According to sources, the anticipated AGM is expected to be soon as Choppies is in a haste to release the impending financial results which caused the company’s suspension from the bourse.  When BusinessPost inquired about the AGM and release of financials, Choppies spokesperson said the company is in a process to finalize and publish audited financial results.


According to the spokesperson, with regards to suspension of trading on the Botswana Stock Exchange, the status quo remains “but we are confident that the situation will be normalized very soon.” Even though he was cagey about his appointment saying it is premature to talk about his new job before the probable confirmation at the AGM by shareholders, Mpai told BusinessPost that he is ready to take the position anytime.


Choppies expects to benefit on Mpai’s 28 years of experience in the corporate world where he has held senior executive roles in blue chip companies such as Debswana Diamond Company and Barclays Bank of Botswana. Mpai is a Chartered Secretary (ACIS), Chartered Certified Accountant (FCCA) and a Fellow member of Chartered Accountant (Bots) (FCA).


Mpai owns finance cum business development and strategic planning consultancy firm PowerPlay Consulting.  Through his firm Mpai says he improves organizations’ bottom line by identifying the key drivers of financial growth and operational efficiency; develops a culture of performance by tracking individual performance and strategy execution using an appropriate accountability matrix. He also coaches mentors individuals and organizations to ensure that they have sustained and continuous improved performance.


Mpai’s predicted role

The remuneration committee comprises independent non-executive directors Sydney Muller (chairman) and Dorcas Kgosietsile, non-executive director Brett Stewart and CEO Ramachandran Ottapathu. The CFO attended meetings by invitation in the year. Full attendance registers are set out on page 27.


Mpai’s expected roles in the board will be almost similar to those of his predecessor Muller. South African national Muller chaired the remuneration committee and was helped by Robert Matthews, company CEO Ramachandran Ottapathu (CEO) Dorcas Kgosietsile and Brett Stewart.


The remuneration committee deals with salaries and board payments. Choppies has been criticized of paying its employees low salaries. If he gets the role to replace Muller automatically, Mpai will be in a committee that is at the helm of a decision to review or retain Choppies wages which are said to be too low for a multimillion regional retailer.  Mpai might also chair the audit and risk committee. Mpai’s predecessor earned P1 116 667 as a board member in the last financial year being P366 667 in sitting fees and P750 000 as retainer fee.  He attended all full board and committee meeting last year.

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