Nkululeko Sowazi has been named the new chair of Sappi, a JSE-listed paper mill company. Nigel Rudd, the current chair, is set to retire at the company’s annual general meeting (AGM) in February of next year.
On February 8, 2024, a day after the AGM, Sowazi, who is now a member of the Audit and Risk Committee, would resign from that position to assume his new responsibilities.
The executive chair and co-founder of Tiso Investment Holdings, which has holdings in Ghana and South Africa, is also the incoming Sappi chair. In addition, he is a board member of several prominent South African corporations.
He has served on the boards of multiple public and unlisted firms and has over 30 years of experience as a senior executive and investment manager. Sappi said in a statement on Thursday that Mr. Sowazi “presents with an impeccable reputation in the market and has a strong commercial and entrepreneurial business track record.”
News of Zola Malinga’s appointment to Sappi’s Audit and Risk Committee chair preceded Sowazi’s appointment. Peter Mageza, a chartered accountant, who is also retiring in February 2024, will be replaced by Malinga.
After more than ten years of service on the Sappi board in a variety of roles, retirees Rudd and Mageza will formally leave the company on February 7, 2024.
Rudd was first appointed as a lead independent director to the board in 2006, and in 2016 he became chair. Sappi acknowledges that he guided the company through some of its most difficult times.
Under Sir Nigel’s direction, Sappi was able to advance its growth strategy by increasing its capacity for packaging and specialty papers, increasing its earnings share, and lowering its exposure to the markets for declining graphic paper. Sappi was also able to weather the storms of Covid-19, high interest rates and inflation, as well as macroeconomic disruptions, thanks to a period of significant debt reduction.
Prior to assuming the role of chair in February 2018, Mageza served on the committee for eight years after initially joining the Sappi board in 2010.