EXCLUSIVE: CBZ in major strategic shake up

Pursuant to the strategic vision of creating one of the country’s largest financial services groups, renowned banker, strategist and businessman Mr Luxon Zembe, has been appointed acting chairman of CBZ Holdings to superintend over the merger with ZB Financial Holdings, The Herald can reveal.

CBZ, in a notice to shareholders, said Mr Zembe takes over from Mr Marc Holtzman, who has tendered his retirement as a director of the company and from the position of chairman, with effect from December 31, 2023.

In addition to that, group chief executive, Dr Blessing Mudavanhu, will also retire effective December 31, 2023, and Mr Lawrence Nyazema, will immediately take over in an acting capacity.

The group said smooth transitional arrangements have been put in place for both senior appointments mandated with the facilitation of the proposed merger.

However, the proposed merger comes after the acquisition of ZB Financial Holdings in 2020 by CBZ Holdings in a transaction, the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) disposed of its 37,79 percent ZB Financial Holdings (ZBFH) shareholding in exchange for CBZ shares worth $640 million (US$7,8 million).

Revealed a source closer to developments in the bank: “Luxon Zembe has been appointed acting chairperson of CBZ Holdings. He is the current chairman of ZB Financial Holdings. The reason for his appointment is to facilitate the merger of CBZ Holdings and ZB Financial Holdings.

The perceived objective (of the appointment of Mr Zembe) drives towards the creation of a stronger financial services group in the country that can drive and support national developments projects both from a private and public sector perspective.

In terms of the transaction, for the 50 percent consideration, NSSA received 14,341 million new shares, valued at $640 041 800 in CBZ, representing a 2,15 percent stake, while for the 50 percent cash transaction, NSSA received US$11 646 889 after factoring in transaction costs.

CBZ Holdings has been actively seeking potential acquisitions and alliances in the local and regional markets that align with the group’s growth strategic goals.

Mr Zembe is a highly experienced business management consultant and strategist with over 30 years of experience in corporate governance and strategic planning across various sectors, said the bank in a notice to shareholders.

His financial sector experience includes serving on the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Advisory Board and Monetary Policy Committees, as well as holding executive positions at Standard Chartered Bank. Mr Zembe has also held senior roles in the manufacturing, mining and retail sectors. 

“He currently runs a management consulting business,” reads part of the notice.

Mr Zembe holds an MBA degree from Henley International Business School and is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) (UK), among other qualifications.

The group said in addition to his professional roles, he is involved in academic and consultancy work, serving as an adjunct lecturer at Solusi University and Zimbabwe National Defence University, and as a senior consultant, mentor and trainer for the Zimbabwe Institute of Directors.

“With his vast corporate experience, Mr Zembe is adequately positioned to provide strategic leadership in driving to completion the corporate actions currently underway in the company,” CBZ said.

The group noted that during his tenure, Mr Holtzman served with distinction and showed strong leadership as he steered the company and group on a clear growth trajectory.

“The board sincerely expresses its gratitude to him for his service over the past four years, during which the company has embarked on a number of corporate actions that will bolster its balance sheet and transform it into an integrated financial services group that will support business and national development projects.

“While the board and management will miss Mr Holtzman’s insights and wisdom, the company will continue to benefit from the many relationships that he built over the years with key stakeholders,” reads the notice.

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Mr Nyazema is currently the Managing Director of CBZ Bank Limited, a position he took up on January 1, 2022, having joined CBZ Bank as Executive Director, Wholesale Banking, in January 2020.

Prior to that, he spent 19 years with Barclays Bank (now First Capital Bank) in various capacities, including being Commercial Director from April 1, 2011 to January 2020, when he joined CBZ Bank. He also spent 10 years at ZB Financial Holdings.

Dr Mudavanhu, with over 20 years of experience in regional and international financial services organisations, said he was key to driving the company’s growth strategy by the successful acquisition of a significant shareholding in a leading, publicly listed insurance group.

“His leadership was instrumental in restoring the company’s brand and reputation, the momentum of which will no doubt continue into the future,” reads the notice in part.

The group said Dr Mudavanhu’s passion for staff development and welfare, as well as equity, will be sorely missed.



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