Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Willem Roos will step down as group CEO of Outsurance — after 21 years with the insurer that pioneered direct selling in SA — to join the Michael Jordaan and Paul Harris-backed 4G+ mobile network start-up Rain.

“It’s an emotional thing for me, being involved with Outsurance for so long,” Roos said on Wednesday following the announcement. His reasons for resigning involved the decision to relocate his family to the Cape, he said.

At 25 years old, Roos was part of Outsurance’s founding team, along with MiWay CEO René Otto and Howard Aron.

“I’m fully confident in the team [at Outsurance]. I really do think we have good succession planning and I think the business can benefit from a fresh perspective and fresh pair of legs,” said Roos, who holds a 3% to 4% stake in the company and will remain on the board as a nonexecutive director.

Among his possible internal successors are Danie Matthee, who was CEO of the group’s Australia business, Youi, and returned in July to become CEO of Outsurance SA. A number of executive committee members had been with the group for many years and Outsurance was well placed to look at an internal successor, said Roos, who leaves at the end of 2017.

“It is obviously exciting for me to be involved in a smaller, start-up-phase business,” said Roos of joining Rain, where he is a nonexecutive director.

Rain was “all about bringing affordable high-speed broadband internet to consumers, mainly by mobile”.

Rain, which has erected more than 1,000 of its own towers, wanted to install another 3,000 to 4,000 to provide pro-per coverage throughout the country, he said.

“In terms of data capacity, it will be able to compete with the incumbents,” Roos said.

Outsurance’s 87.7% shareholder, Rand Merchant Investment Holdings (RMI), said on Wednesday that Chris Meyer, CEO of Rand Merchant Investment Managers, would be resigning at the end of 2017 to relocate his family to Sydney.

Meyer started the business — RMI’s play in the boutique asset management space — in 2015. Since then, it has bought minority stakes in nine affiliate asset managers including Perpetua and CoreShares. It recently bought a 30% stake in Ethos Private Equity to gain exposure to an alternative asset manager.

ziadyh@businesslive.co.za

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