BY FREEMAN MAKOPA
LAFARGE chief executive Precious Nyika left after the company was hit with a heavy central bank fine over exchange rate violations, industry sources said.
Hours before her departure, Nyika struck a positive tone, thanking the board and staff for “a decade of transformation, innovation and growth”.
“The last two years have been exhilarating. I relished the opportunity of churning out new cement and dry mortar products, rolling out cutting-edge digital solutions, new construction technologies, building mass affordable housing units and building new manufacturing plants to tap into the growth of the Zimbabwean market,” she said.
But according to online news outlet, newZWire, the board took the decision after the central bank imposed a fine of the equivalent of US$1 million under exchange control regulations.
“An audit raised several corporate compliance infractions that, together with the forex issues, led to the board this week deciding on her departure,” an official familiar with the matter told the publication.
No comment was available from Nyika and Lafarge chairman Kumbirai Katsande.
The central bank has not commented on the nature of Lafarge’s violations.
As speculation increased, Lafarge staff claimed they were concerned about the development.
They said after guiding the company during turbulent times, the ex-CEO had performed well, and her departure came as a shock.
“Several companies were fined but no one was fired,” one executive said.
“The departure was not a good thing because she was very able and the business was performing very well. If they are to bring a new CEO in two months, according to the boss, let that person be Zimbabwean, or at least an African,” the executive said.