Board of directors

George Manyere
Executive vice chairman & acting CEO

Appointed March 2017

George was appointed to the board as non-executive deputy chairman in March 2017. He is an entrepreneur and investment banker with significant experience in structuring major investment and acquisition deals in Zimbabwe and sub-Saharan Africa, which he applies to advise Ecsponent’s board.

George founded Brainworks Capital, the first Zimbabwean company with a primary listing on the JSE main board, in 2008 and served as its CEO until 2017. Prior to that, he was an investment professional with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), headquartered in Washington DC. During this time, he managed a portfolio of investments exceeding USD 400 million and represented the IFC on several investee company boards.

George serves as a director on the boards of several companies and is a member of the London Stock Exchange Africa Advisory Group. He holds an Honour’s Degree in Accounting Science and Certificate in Theory of Accounting from the University of South Africa, and has completed various international courses in finance, strategy and investment banking.

Dirk van der Merwe
Group financial director

Appointed February 2018

Dirk is a qualified South African Chartered Accountant and a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) (non-practising). He served as the Group’s financial director from September 2010 to December 2015, working alongside the group CEO and instrumental in the company’s turnaround. He was re-appointed as Financial Director in February 2018.

In the interceding period, he worked as a financial consulting and forensic investigation specialist. During this time, he was contracted as the Ecsponent Company Secretary from 1 June 2016, until the date of his reappointment as Ecsponent’s Financial Director.

Before joining Ecsponent in September 2010, he gained experience across a wide range of industries and organisations, which includes a decade at one of the big four international auditing firms. Dirk’s experience includes financial statement audits and financial reporting for a wide range of entities including publicly traded entities, governance and control assessments, assurance services for large IT projects, risk management and exposure to corporate finance disciplines.

He is a member of the Social and Ethics committee.

Richard Connellan
Independent non-executive chairman

Appointed February 2011

Richard was appointed as Chairman of the board in February 2011.

As a well-respected figure in the South African listed environment, he provides the Group with a wealth of experience. His experience includes serving as the Executive Director of the Takeover Regulations Panel (TRP) and as a member of the King Task Group into Insider Trading Legislation. Richard was also a member of the King III Committee on Corporate Governance (chairman of the takeovers and mergers sub-committee) and a member of the Standing Advisory Committee on Company Law. In addition, Richard is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators, as well as an elected member of the South African Institute of Stockbrokers (non-broking).

Today, Richard consults to corporate finance practitioners and the TRP. Additionally, he teaches takeover law in conjunction with KAR Presentations and was co-author of Commentary on South African Takeover Law (2015).

He is a member of the Remuneration and Nominations committee

Keith Rayner
Independent non-executive director

Appointed January 2011

Keith was appointed as a non-executive director in 2011. Widely recognised as an expert on the JSE Listings Requirements (JSE LR) and the Companies Act, Keith leverages his experience and knowledge in supporting the Ecsponent board.

He is a past member of the SAMREC/SAMVAL working group, the Takeover Regulation Panel’s rewrite committee, the IoDSA’s CRISA committee and the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants Accounting Practice Committee.

In addition to numerous non-executive board appointments, Keith is CEO of KAR Presentations, an advisory and presentation corporation specialising in corporate finance and regulatory advice. He is also a fellow of the Institute of Directors of South Africa (IoDSA), a non-broking member of the Institute of South African Stockbrokers and a member of the Investment Analysts Society. Keith is also a member of IAS, a past member of SAICA’s Accounting Practices Committee and a qualified South African Chartered Accountant.

He is the chairman of the Remuneration and Nominations committee and a member of the Audit and Risk committee.

Patrick Matute
Independent non-executive director

Appointed March 2017

Patrick was appointed to the board as non-executive director in October 2016. His extensive experience in financial services, as well as corporate finance and private equity, in Sub-Saharan African makes an invaluable contribution to Ecsponent’s strategy.

He holds a Bachelor of Commerce Honours in Finance (University of the Witwatersrand), and a Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) (NUST, Zimbabwe) and a Master’s of Business Administration from Hult International Business School. He has completed CFA Level 1 and 2 exams.

Patrick started his career with Questco, a boutique corporate finance company based in Johannesburg, where he was involved in corporate finance transactions in the mining, industrial and financial services sectors. Since then, he worked at Frankfurt-listed African Development Corporation (“ADC”) as an Investment Manager, focusing on financial services in Sub-Saharan Africa, before joining Brainworks Limited.

He is a member of the boards of Brainworks’ investee companies, including Dawn Properties Limited and FML Oil, involved in driving their advisory business and portfolio management.

He is a member of the Social and Ethics committee.

Ecsponent Board Godwin Nyengedza
Mr. Godwin Nyengedza
Independent non-executive director

Appointed: January 2020

Mr Godwin Nyengedza is currently the Managing Partner of Hogwe Nyengedza Attorneys, a fully-fledged Harare based law firm which opened its doors to the public on 1 July 2019. He was until recently, a partner with the law firm Scanlen & Holderness where he was responsible for continuous legal education. Godwin is an English trained barrister who is also qualified to practise as a Legal Practitioner, Conveyancer and Notary Public in Zimbabwe.

He is a member of Lincolns Inn and an Associate member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. A holder of an LL.B and LL.M (London), Godwin is also a PhD (Law) candidate. Godwin has over 20 years’ experience in commerce, cross-border transport and logistics gained both locally and abroad.

In addition, he has expertise in all aspects of corporate law, banking, tax law, commercial transactions, insolvency, trade investment, international immigration and alternative dispute resolution. He has also been involved in high profile criminal litigation and white-collar cross border criminal defence work.

His broad knowledge in tax collection, financial services regulation and international trade and migration has seen him serve on several boards of private, listed and State enterprises over many years.

As part of his desire to mentor budding lawyers, he has previously lectured at the University of Zimbabwe. Godwin is a passionate Formula 1 follower. He also spends part of his time on charitable and benevolent causes in aid of his firm’s corporate social responsibility.

Shaka Sisulu
Independent non-executive director

Appointed January 2011

Mr Shaka Sisulu is executive Chair at award-winning marketing agency Retroviral, sports agency RetroActive, social media agency Plum Factory, data analytics firm, ROI Africa and animation studio, Kraons. These agencies are part of the Truth Digital marketing group that Sisulu is developing in partnership with Capitis Equities, and service brands the likes of Multichoice, M-net, Russell Hobbs, RoccoMamas, Pie City and Bio Gen. Sisulu also serves on the board of David Philips, a renowned publisher.

Sisulu has a 20-year career in developing media and technology businesses, including the telecommunications business of the ITEC group. Sisulu is a recipient of the Mahatma Gandhi Satyagraha Award for contributing to youth development in South Africa. He is also an Archbishop Tutu Fellow, member of the African Leadership Network (ALN) and a Mail & Guardian’s Young South African alumni.

A social activist Sisulu previously co-founded a 20,000 strong volunteer movement “Cheesekids for Humanity” that popularized Nelson Mandela Day, was a founding member of Foundation for a Safe South Africa, a board member at Lovelife, and successfully embarked on two Kilimanjaro expeditions for charitable causes, in 2012 and 2015. He has also served in various political structures of the African National Congress (ANC). Sisulu has extensive media experience, having been a radio, and TV broadcaster, a print columnist and social commentator online. Sisulu holds a Post-graduate Diploma in Business Administration (GIBS) and is reading for a Masters in Philosophy (International Business).