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Leadership changes at fintech Lesaka as CEO departs

Admire Moyo
By Admire Moyo, ITWeb's news editor.
Johannesburg, 05 Dec 2023
Fintech firm Lesaka Technologies has announced Chris Meyer is leaving as the company as CEO.
Fintech firm Lesaka Technologies has announced Chris Meyer is leaving as the company as CEO.

Fintech firm Lesaka Technologies today announced that Chris Meyer will conclude his tenure as Lesaka Group CEO on 29 February, 2024.

In a statement, the company says during his nearly three years as group CEO, Meyer has led the successful turnaround and building of the Lesaka fintech platform.

It adds Meyer will remain a director of Lesaka, while Ali Mazanderani will assume the executive chairman role on 1 February.

Commenting on the conclusion of his tenure as group CEO, Meyer says: “I have dedicated all my energy over the past nearly three years to the turnaround and rebuilding of the Lesaka platform, spending the majority of that time apart from my family in the UK.

“The vibrant and energised Lesaka of today looks very different to the business we took on almost three years ago, and I am exceptionally proud of what this extraordinary team has achieved. 

"The consumer division has returned to profitability and the Connect Group acquisition has been a resounding success. 

"Furthermore, we have built a strong leadership team, implemented a robust corporate governance and risk management framework, and developed a values system and culture which resonates with our 2 400 colleagues across Southern Africa.

“I believe we have achieved what we set out to do when we started this journey, and I feel the time is right for me to return to my family and hand over to a new leader who will take this extraordinary group of people into an exciting future.

“Ali is an exceptional leader and fintech entrepreneur and is the perfect candidate to lead Lesaka in its next exciting growth phase.”

Mazanderani has been a member of the Lesaka board since 2020.

According to Lesaka, it was Mazanderani’s vision to build the fintech platform in Southern Africa that set Lesaka on its journey.

It notes he presented this strategy to the market at Lesaka’s Q4 2020 earnings call and has played a key role in Lesaka’s evolution, serving as a board director and a member of the Capital Allocation Committee.

The company says Mazanderani brings deep experience to the Lesaka executive team and is a well-known and respected global fintech leader and entrepreneur.

Mazanderani is co-founder and chairman of Teya, a European fintech, and has served as a director of global fintech companies, including StoneCo in Brazil and Network International in the UAE.

Mazanderani comments: “During my three years on the board of Lesaka, I have seen the leadership team and the more than 2 400 employees across the group build a great foundation. I would especially like to thank Chris for the crucial role he has played in getting Lesaka to where it is today.

“The company is well-positioned to deliver exceptional value to its stakeholders and benefit the communities it serves. I look forward to deepening my involvement with Lesaka and working with the entire team to realise our vision.”

Kuben Pillay, chairman of the Lesaka board, says: “On behalf of the board, I want to thank Chris for his invaluable contributions to Lesaka. Chris achieved what he was tasked to do when we started this journey, and leaves Lesaka as a strong platform positioned for growth.

“We are excited by the appointment of Ali as executive chairman. Ali played an integral role in setting Lesaka on this journey to become the leading fintech driving financial inclusion. Given his deep experience and proven track-record in the fintech sector and in emerging markets (including South Africa), he is ideally suited to lead Lesaka through the next phase of growth.”

Pillay’s role on the board will change from chairman to lead independent director, effective 1 February.

He will continue to chair the meetings of the board of directors, in line with best practice of corporate governance and independence, Lesaka concludes.