Shelter Afrique starts search for CEO

Former Shelter Afrique CEO Andrew Chimphondah. PHOTO | POOL

The board of Shelter Afrique is looking for a new chief executive to replace Andrew Chimphondah who quit suddenly in February.

Mr Chimphondah joins a list of executives who have left the Pan-African housing financier abruptly or under a cloud of controversy.

“Reporting to the Shelter Afrique Board of Directors, the managing director has overall responsibility for the implementation of Shelter Afrique’s mandate to mobilise resources for the development of housing and related infrastructure in Africa,” said the agency in a notice.

“In collaboration with private and public sector institutions, he/she will identify, develop and implement housing and related infrastructure projects, mobilise the required resources, manage them and apply them prudently to enable Shelter Afrique to achieve its mandate.”

Mr Chimphondah, who took over the helm three-and-a-half years ago, had been tasked with steering its turnaround following tumultuous years that saw it pushed into a financial crisis.

The board did not disclose why the Zimbabwean national was let go, only stating that the housing lender is transitioning.

Shelter Afrique, owned by 44 African countries and three development institutions — African Development Bank, African Reinsurance Corporation and the African Solidarity Fund -- has had three CEOs in less than eight years.

Mr Chimphondah joined the housing financier in September 2018, taking over from Sierra Leone national Femi Adewole, who served for less than two years in an acting capacity and then as substantive managing director since early 2017.

Mr Adewole was appointed following the resignation of Ugandan James Mugerwa in February 2017 after a three-year stint. Mr Muwowo, the CFO, served in the interim.

Mr Mugerwa, who took office in August 2014 after the acrimonious exit of Mauritanian national Alassane Ba, left the company a day after board members adopted a Deloitte forensic audit report implicating him in subprime lending and creative accounting.

The undercurrents at Shelter Afrique burst to the fore in September 2016 when the firm’s head of finance, Godfrey Waweru, blew the whistle via an email on the lender’s financial health.

The financier was at the time struggling with losses amid high financing costs, which negatively affected its ability to raise new capital and fund new projects.

Under Mr Chimphondah’s tenure, he oversaw a turnaround, including raising capital and debt restructuring.

The firm last year said it completed the repayment of the balance of Sh20.5 billion ($186 million) owed to eight lenders three years ahead of schedule.

Shelter Afrique is eyeing to roll out its planned issuance of Sh137.8 billion ($1.25 billion) worth of new bonds from African capital markets.

It will be seeking Sh55.1 billion ($500 million) from East Africa and a similar amount from Nigeria, with the remaining $250 million (Sh27.6 billion) coming from its francophone markets.

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