The Land and Agricultural Development Bank of South Africa has appointed Ayanda Kanana as its new CEO - this after ratings agency Moody's flagged the lack of a permanent CEO as cause for concern.
The development finance institution on Monday made the announcement on the JSE Stock Exchange News Service. Kanana's appointment will be effective from March 1.
Kanana, a qualified chartered accountant, has "in depth knowledge" of the agricultural sector and is the current CEO of the Johannesburg Fresh Produce Market, according to the Land Bank's notice.
He is also chairperson of the audit and risk committee of the East London Industrial Development Zone. "Ayanda is passionate about agriculture, in particular the development of emerging farmers," the notice reads.
The bank said that Kanana has won multiple awards, the most recent one being from the Association for the Advancement of Black Accountants of Southern Africa for being the 2019 Public Sector CEO of the year.
The Land Bank has been without a permanent CEO since December 2018, after Tshokolo Nchocho moved to the Industrial Development Corporation. Konehali Gugushe, who was the chief risk officer of the bank, served as acting CEO since May 2019 before resigning in January. Sydney Soundy, the executive for strategy and communications, has been holding the fort following Gugushe's resignation.
In mid-January the Land Bank was downgraded to junk status by Moody's and assigned a negative outlook. Moody's had flagged uncertainty related to the appointment of a permanent CEO, among other issues.
"While the ratings agency acknowledges initiatives taken by the Land Bank to strengthen governance in light of generally heightened attention to South African state-owned enterprises, the prolonged period of uncertainty in relation to appointing a permanent CEO, who will ensure sustained oversight of the bank's operations and strategic direction, is a cause for concern. For Land Bank, corporate governance remains a key credit consideration," said Moody's at the time.
Moody's also raised concerns over the increasing rate of non-performing loans, as well as impaired loans.
"The ratings downgrade reflects Moody's assessment that ongoing fiscal challenges suggest the South African government will be more selective in dispersing financial support to state-owned enterprises, including to Land Bank," the ratings agency said.