Staff Reporter WINDHOEK - Meatco is not going to fall apart after it was in recent months hit by a series of resignations of six of its top executives and it regards the bailout of these executives as a carefully planned move with a fair dose of corporate politics. Meatco will feel the impact of the resignations but its business as usual at the meat processing company, insisted its Head of Communications, Rosa Thobias. She reacted to questions from Farmers Forum last Saturday after a weekly published an article about five of the executives that have already left or will leave soon after opting to go on voluntary early retirement while the sixth resigned after a dispute with the current board. The company recently offered voluntary early retirement for all employees who are 55 years old and above and an option for voluntary retrenchment with a severance package of two week’s pay for each completed year of service. Thobias confirmed the current situation, saying the company has offered these executives lucrative packages and that in their cases, the dangling carrots seemed irresistible. “And we suspect corporate politics is the motivation to make Meatco look bad, but the company has done nothing wrong. People should not be alarmed by the executives’ exit as voluntary retrenchments offered by the company included everyone,” she noted. Former Chief Financial Officer Ingo Schneider resigned and left the company in April while the Executive for Stakeholder Relations and Corporate Affairs Vehaka Tjimune, left in June. Executive Quality Assurance Rosa Katjivena, will only serve until today while the Executive Marketing and Sales Cyprianus Khaiseb, will serve his notice period until end of September. Acting Chief Financial Officer and Group Management Accountant, Ilana Brown, who replaced Schneider, is also serving her notice period. Former Chief Executive Officer, Vekuii Rukoro, resigned in December last year after a public fall out with the current board. In December 2016, former Agriculture Minister, John Mutorwa, announced the appointment of a temporary board to serve for six months, prompting the parastatal’s then CEO to challenge the appointment in court. The temporary board members, who took up their seats on January 4, 2017, were set to serve for only six months, but were later appointed for a full three-year term by Cabinet. Thobias was skeptical whether the executives are leaving because of the current financial situation in the company partly caused by dwindling cattle numbers. Meatco recently retrenched all its temporary employees due to cash flow problems and the limited number of cattle available for slaughter. “As per the company’s strategic move on May 30, 2018, Meatco opened up the voluntary retrenchment process. Over the years, Meatco has undergone operational challenges, due to decreased number of cattle; therefore there was a need to align the company,” she said and added that as part of the mitigation action in aligning the company to the current cattle numbers, voluntary early retirement and voluntary retrenchment were offered to employees to reduce the head count. This was offered across the board from top to bottom. Some of the individuals across the board had volunteered to take the offer,” Tobias further elaborated. She acknowledged the exit of the executives would leave a dent in the company, adding that Meatco had unsuccessfully tried to negotiate with some of the members, but added that executives could be replaced albeit that a lot of experience will leave with the people that have resigned. “Meatco management reserves the right to decline application for voluntary retrenchment if the applicant/employees possess critical/scarce skills/competency needed by the cooperation. In this specific case of the EXCO members, mitigations were undertaken by the Acting CEO’s office and this was not successful as individuals had to be given the opportunity to exercise their right of which they did,” Tobias said. At the time of going to print, it was not sure whether Board Chairperson, Martha Namundjebo-Tilahun, will officially comment on whether the board was concerned about executives leaving. The departure leaves Meatco with only three executives - the Acting CEO and the Operational Executive, Jannie Breytenbach, Executive for Livestock Procurement, Heiner Bohme, and the Human Resources (HR) Executive, Stanley Hoveka-Mbura, Senior Manager HR. Last month, it sent out a notice to producers, announcing the closure of its regional service offices.
New Era Reporter
2018-07-30 09:18:49 6 months ago