Herman Kotzé is stepping down as CEO of fintech firm Net1 from next month after spending 22 years with the company.
Alex Smith, Net1 chief financial officer, will take over as interim CEO from 30 September until the board finalises the appointment of a permanent CEO.
Kotzé will, however, remain a consultant for the company until the end of May next year.
In a statement to shareholders, Jabu Mabuza, chairman of Net1, says: “We thank Herman for his significant contribution to the company and wish him great success in his future enterprises. During his tenure at Net1, the company attained a number of significant milestones and he leaves Net1 as a well-capitalised business with a solid platform for growth.
“We also welcome Alex into the role of interim CEO. He brings continuity to this transition process and we are confident the company will be in safe hands under Alex’s stewardship until a permanent CEO is appointed.”
Commenting on his departure, Kotzé says: “Following a number of transformational corporate actions over the last year, including the sale of certain material assets and the retirement of all outstanding debt, I believe Net1 is well-placed to pursue a new strategic direction with a strong balance sheet and that it is the appropriate time for me to explore other opportunities.
“I have spent almost my entire career at Net1 and I am grateful to have worked with so many talented and dedicated employees and to have been part of the company’s incredible journey from its early days as a start-up venture.”
During his tenure at the helm, Net1 went through some tumultuous periods.
Net1’s challenges in SA included the cancellation of its contract to distribute social grants for the South African Social Security Agency in the second quarter of 2019. The company distributed grants through its subsidiary Cash Paymaster Services (CPS).
The social security agency had, from 2012, relied on the services of CPS to pay millions of beneficiaries through cash payments, direct deposits and electronic payments.
The post office took over the payment of social grants from the beginning of October last year.
Net1 suffered further losses in Cell C. It owns a 15% shareholding in the telco.