Batsho Dambe-Groth is the Managing Director of Resource Logic, a firm that consults to a wide range of organisations on human resources and business solutions. She is a graduate of the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology with a degree in Occupational Psychology, a fellow of the USA Fulbright Humphrey Programme and a Certified Global Remuneration Professional (World at Work Compensation Organisation, USA).
Dambe-Groth began her career with De Beers Botswana, the foundation of her extensive career in the human resources field, having worked in the mining, insurance, parastatal insurance and financial services sectors.
She started her journey at the Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BIHL) in March 2008 as an independent non-executive director and Chairperson of the Human Resources Committee, adding skills in stakeholder management of shareholders, government and institutional investors. She has also been appointed board member of the Nominations Committee.
She was appointed acting chairperson in 2009, in a time when the company faced a series of extremely challenging circumstances, given some concern and uncertainty as the global economic crisis showed every sign of deepening. Even so, BIHL had shown tremendous resilience evidenced by strength in its numbers.
Dambe-Groth was confirmed substantively as Chairperson in 2010 and has served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for 11 years, and a member of the board of directors for 13 years now.
When she joined in 2008, the Group’s operating profit was P222 million. Group embedded value was reported at P1.99 billion while value of new business was P99 million. Assets under management (AUM) for the Botswana Insurance Fund Management (Bifm) were P13.9 billion.
Under her leadership, BIHL has had its fair share of challenges. BIHL acquired Legal Guard from Letshego Holdings in order to expand into the short-term insurance arena. But the Legal Guard business model was not supporting the numbers, contributing only marginally to group profits, thus influencing the group to sell it to one of its associates, Botswana Insurance Company (BIC), as part of the group strategic focus. BIHL Sure was also disposed of as the group focused its strategy on investment with good returns.
BIHL has had a good record of successes, transforming the insurer into a broader financial services company both in Botswana and in countries they choose to operate. Major milestones of Dambe-Groth’s stay at BIHL are overseeing the acquisition of 50 percent in BIC. BIHL acquired 50 percent shareholding in Teledimo (Pty) Ltd, which owned 100 percent of BIC, the oldest and largest short-term insurer in Botswana.
BIHL also acquired 25.1 percent in Nico Holdings Malawi, which operates in five countries, namely: Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda and Mozambique. BIHL also increased shareholding in Letshego Group from 16.5 percent in 2010 to 28.05 percent currently. Apart from Botswana, Letshego is present across 10 countries. Shareholding in Funeral Services Group (FSG), a critical partner to the Group, was increased to 35.4 percent. Investments in Letshego and FSG continue to add considerable value to the group’s results.
The diversification story of the mammoth ship has ensured that the group continues pay good dividends and has paid billions of pula to policyholders, given good returns on investments. As the group succeeded with its diversification strategy, it established the BIHL Trust which has given over P32 million to communities in Botswana.
Dambe-Groth has helped drive this significant growth trajectory and the onboarding of new leadership teams across the Group. These include appointment of Botswana Life CEO, Ronald Samuels, Neo Bogatsu as Bifm CEO and Catherine Lesetedi as BIHL Group CEO as well as her predecessor in the role being Gaffar Hassam. As CEO, Hassam was a key part of the executive team which crafted BIHL’s strategic direction to be a broad-based financial services provider, successfully facilitating the purchase and integration of Legal Guard into BIHL.
Samuels was roped in to lead a 5-year strategy to transform Botswana Life through an aggressive focus on revenue growth and profitability, customer delight and distribution excellence. Customer delight entails digitising customer touch points, reducing paperwork and expediting policy activation, while distribution excellence pertains to increased training and incentives of agents and broker partners to enhance the quality and volume of business. Botswana Life would see sustained growth of retail business mainly driven by continued growth of the affluent segment underpinned by promotion and development of new products, and increased reach outside of the capital city.
Lesetedi’s career spans over two decades, most of which have been within the BIHL Group. She was roped in from Botswana Life. When she moved from Botswana Life, the life insurer boasted market share of over 75 percent, surviving a test of time with insurance policies edging over 300 000 valued at over P8 billion.
Under Bogatsu, Bifm is one of the most active property development and management companies in the country through its subsidiaries. Bifm is also the largest asset manager and has maintained such dominance for years.
BIHL Group is today the largest financial services group on the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) and a key player in the financial markets. The Group boasts increasing diverse revenue streams with strong group liquidity and balance sheet position, a renowned leadership team, and is a strong and trusted brand that has wielded considerable socio-economic impact for and with Batswana through its community support arm, the BIHL Trust, as well as across the Group’s Subsidiaries and Associates.
As at the end of the 2020 financial year, Group Operating Profit was P393 million with embedded value at P4.8 billion and value of new business of P129 million. Assets under management were P30 billion.
While she presented her last financials lastweek, Dambe-Groth will stay on long enough for a new candidate to be identified, cognisant of the need for seamless transition and continuity in the best interests of the business and its valued shareholders and stakeholders.
“It has been a privilege to lead this company and Board, and to build relationships in that capacity with so many of you. We have had our challenges and great successes, transforming through our strategies to grow BIHL into a broader financial services company both in Botswana and in the countries we chose to operate in. I am proud that we have consistently paid good dividends, paid billions of pula to our policyholders, given good return on investments, succeeded with our diversification strategy and established the BIHL Trust which has given back over P32 million to communities in Botswana. Being a shareholder, I will continue to have a relationship with BIHL and have fond memories of my time here,” said Dambe-Groth.
The recruitment process for the new Chairman has commenced.