Eceolaza to take over as CEO at Access Finance Mr Salim Eceolaza

Senior Business Writer

FINANCIAL solutions firm, Access Finance Group co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Mr Raymond Chigogwana is set to retire from the firm effective 1 October.

Access Finance Group is the holding company for Access Finance, Access Forex and Quick Access.

In a statement, the group said Mr Salim Eceolaza will take over as CEO from 1 October.

Mr Raymond Chigogwana

The board has hailed the leadership transition as a monumental evolution that will launch the next strategic cycle of the financial powerhouse.

Since its establishment in 2014 and under Mr Chigogwana’s leadership, Access has led the way in local and international remittances, fintech and investment banking within the region.

“Access Finance Group, the holding company for entities Access Finance, Access Forex and Quick Access, today announced that Raymond Chigogwana, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, will retire as Chief Executive Officer, effective October 1, 2023. Salim Eceolaza has been named Chief Executive Officer and his appointment is with effect from October 1, 2023,” reads part of the statement.

 It added that Eceolaza, who joins the business as a representative shareholder, has also been appointed to the Group Board while Mr Chigogwana will continue to support the business as a Non-Executive Director.

Mr Chigogwana said from a strategic, professional and personal perspective, this is the right moment for him to hand the leadership reins to the next CEO.

“Our strong network and the strategic moves we have taken to focus the company have put Access on a strong path for the future,” he noted.

Chairman of the Access Board of Directors, Mr Isau Bwerinofa said they expect a smooth leadership transition.

“I would like to express my sincere appreciation for Ray’s achievements as CEO. During his tenure, Ray focused Access on leading in the global money services businesses while consolidating its investment banking portfolio.

“Under his leadership the technology and innovation pipeline was revitalised and we successfully navigated the evolution of our remittance products. 

“We expect a smooth transition as Ray built a strong leadership team and has been mentoring his successor for some time. Access will be well positioned to continue its momentum,” said Mr Bwerinofa.

Mr Eceolaza is a seasoned executive with a track-record of identifying and realising business growth opportunities and adding value to businesses.

Prior to his appointment, Mr Eceolaza served as the inaugural Group Finance Director for Simbisa Brands Limited, steering its triumphant unbundling from Innscor Africa Limited and subsequently overseeing its listing on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.

ZIMBABWE Stock Exchange (ZSE)

He was then appointed as the Managing Director of the Simbisa Group’s Kenyan arm where he further showcased the ability to significantly grow business performance and operations, the group said.

“Prior to this, Salim co-founded IH Group, a prominent capital markets advisory and corporate                finance business with a distinct focus on the Zimbabwean market.”

He is a Chartered Accountant, having graduated with distinction from the University of Cape Town with a BCom degree. He pursued his Executive MBA from three of the world’s pre-eminent institutions: the London School of Economics (LSE), New York University (NYU Stern) and HEC Paris.”

“Salim brings the unique vantage point of experience as an entrepreneur, corporate executive and business operator as well as Group experience and networks that will serve the valued clients and business partners of the Access Finance Group,” said the Group.

 His mandate will be to solidify the Group’s positioning on the global stage, grow  financial inclusion competitiveness and strengthen relationships with local and Group partners.

Access Finance has a strategic network of operations in Mauritius, United Kingdom and South Africa.

Locally, it facilitates conversion between foreign currencies and the Zimbabwean dollar with in-house solutions catering for different currency switches.

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