THIS is an open letter to Stephen Gwasira, the chief executive officer of the Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group (ZABG). I am a manager there but I have used this avenue to avoid victimisation. This letter is pregnant with advice for you.
Firstly, I appreciate that you have never managed a commercial private sector entity before. Your over two decades experience at a parastatal, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), did not grill you for the rigorous challenges that you are currently facing.
It is public knowledge that you were the head of supervision at the RBZ when banks were busy misappropriating depositors’ funds. However, all this is neither here nor there.
Given ZABG’s background, you need to appreciate that what’s required at the entity is a turnaround strategy. It is foolhardy not to accept that. You therefore need to take charge of this with maximum zeal and aggression.
As such, you need to change your style to make it more aggressive, decisive and pragmatic, much like what Gideon Gono, “your governor”, does. Your job requires indoda sibili, to quote our erstwhile president.
Secondly, you ought to recognise that 90% or more of ZABG problems are human resources issues. It is unfortunate that your head of human resources has exacerbated the growing undercurrents of dissatisfaction because of some of the policies he has implemented.
In fact, he seems to be your trusted lieutenant, who you consult for everything. That relationship, like the Schaibir Shaik-Jacob Zuma affair, will not stand the test of time. He has created a lot of problems in the system. He carved a very large department for himself (empire building), comprising four senior managers for a five-month-old bank, all of whom are arrogant except one helpful Simba Manhando!
I am sure you are aware that one of them was trying to play hide and seek with staff pertaining to the works council issue until you intervened. We hear that there will be retrenchments; you might consider starting to purge this huge department. They are just overheads.
Thirdly, there seems to be subtle but dysfunctional corporate politics, which is amounting to jostling for influence by your executives, which you have to deal with very heavy-handedly. To deal with it effectively, you might have to avoid consulting your head of human resources, who is also a major player in the said game and is an expert at it.
Finally, so that we are credible as a bank on issues of good corporate governance, please deal decisively and with finality with the issue of conflict of interest involving Lorimak and its owners who are also in ZABG structures.
For A Better ZABG,