Cameroon’s Chanas launches a new beginning

The Cameroonian insurance company Chanas Assurances brought in new leadership after two general assemblies in September as a group of managers pushed the company’s founder, Jacqueline Casalegno, 86, out of the position of chief executive.

Former deputy chief executive Henri Ewele took over Casalegno’s position on 23 September amid concerns about the company’s governance.

Managers complained that Casalegno had not created a succession plan to smooth the eventual transition when she would no longer be able to run the company.

After serving as chief executive since the company’s founding in 1953, Casalegno did not attend Ewele’s inauguration.

She remains the company’s largest shareholder and the president of its board.

Ewele had complained to the Conférence Interafricaine des Marchés d’Assurances about Chanas’s weakened performance and the unhappiness of several of its larger clients.

The company recorded revenue of 23.3bn CFA francs ($48.2m), which represented growth of 28.2%, in 2012.

Ewele says that he will devote his attention to modernising the company and regaining the approval of the regional insurance regulators.

Chanas is the country’s largest insurance company in the field of property damages – it counts state-owned companies such as theSociété Nationale des Hydrocarbures and Société Nationale de Raffinage as clients – and plans to enter the field of life insurance.

This year a general assembly agreed to the company’s recapitalisation from 2.3bn CFA francs to 4.6bn CFA francs through shareholder funds.

During the leadership battle, there were leaks of previsional results that reported large losses, which were not reflected in the final results.

The Commission Régionale de Contrôle des Assurances had placed the company under surveillance in 2011 due to its weak governance. ●

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