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Mertens takes the reigns at Debmarine Namibia

2022-10-07  Staff Reporter

Mertens takes the reigns at Debmarine Namibia

Staff Reporter

Willy Mertens will assume the reigns of Debmarine Namibia on 1 November 2022. Debmarine Namibia is a joint venture marine diamond recovery company, owned in equal shares by government and the De Beers Group. Mertens takes over from Otto Shikongo, who retires from the business at the end of this year, and who has been at the helm of Debmarine Namibia since 1 January 2004. Mertens is currently the Chief Financial Officer of Debmarine Namibia with oversight accountability for Namdeb Holdings (Pty) Ltd. He is a chartered accountant (CA) by training, and brings to his new role a wealth of corporate experience, spanning more than twenty years.

In addition to his CA training, he also holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Engineering from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, as well as numerous professional executive training qualifications, including from the London Business School.

Making the announcement yesterday, Debmarine Namibia Board Chairperson Ndeulipula Hamutumwa expressed his confidence in the appointment of Mertens: “The appointment of a competent chief executive is without a doubt one of the critical duties of any board. We are most pleased that we have been able to draw from the phenomenal talent pool at Debmarine Namibia to find a suitable candidate to fill the role of CEO. Not only does Mr Mertens have a deep understanding of our business – but he also has an acute appreciation of the strategic role of Debmarine Namibia within the broader context of Namibia. Debmarine Namibia is a key contributor government Fiscus, enabling the government to support its many developmental objectives. We are, thus, pleased that we can confirm Mr Willy Mertens as the new CEO of Debmarine Namibia”.

“We also wish to thank Mr Otto Shikongo for his invaluable service to Debmarine Namibia. His astute leadership, profound engineering knowledge and meticulous business acumen have successfully steered the organisation through many achievements and successes. Under his leadership, Debmarine Namibia has become a recognised world-class company, an aspect of immense pride for all at Debmarine Namibia.

His many achievements include the migration of the business from South Africa to Namibia in 2001, the acquisition of a world-class diamond recovery fleet, including the custom-built mv SS Nujoma, the world’s first custom-built marine diamond sampling vessel, as well as the latest, recently inaugurated, mv Benguela Gem, the world’s largest diamond recovery vessel. We wish him and his family the best for their future endeavours”.

Commenting on the appointment, De Beers Group CEO Bruce Cleaver said: “I extend my sincere appreciation to Otto Shikongo. Otto played a pivotal role in migrating the business from Cape Town in 2001, first as operations manager, and then as CEO from 2004. In his time as CEO, he has overseen an accelerated growth plan of Debmarine Namibia from humble beginnings to where it is today as the single largest private sector enterprise in Namibia. On behalf of everyone at the De Beers Group, we would like to thank Otto for his 35 years of outstanding service. At the same time, we are delighted that Willy will succeed Otto. Willy has been a key member of the Debmarine Namibia leadership team for the last ten years, and I look forward to his leadership as CEO.”

2022-10-07  Staff Reporter

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