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MOZAMBIQUE - Finance

Ridha Tekaia

CEO, Société Générale Moçambique

Bio

Ridha Tekaia is a multinational expert in the financial sector, having held various leadership positions over the last 30 years, such as CEO at Reunions – Mayotte, in Moldova and Algeria, commercial head director in the Czech Republic and head of corporate in Cameroon. He was nominated CEO of Société Générale Mozambique Bank in July 2022 and is supported by an ExCo team in the management of the bank.

"We wanted to empower our team and have held several workshops, coaching sessions, and leadership training for managers."

Ridha Tekaia, CEO of Société Générale Moçambique, talks to TBY about acquisition by Vista Group and what to expect going forward.

Can you elaborate on Société Générale’s current operations in Mozambique?

Société Générale was established 15 years ago following the initial investment of our partner Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB), which was also started in Mozambique. Naturally, when Mozambique began to show some positive economic and growth signs, mainly driven by oil and gas and Total, we came in, and our partner MCB was already here and just shared this bank. We took over 66% of the equity and started this adventure together; however, Société Générale operates the governance by itself, even though we have shareholders. This is the setup we wanted to implement in this bank, in particular our own principles and values. This is why the management team is partially made up of expats. 

How will Vista Group’s acquisition impact Société Générale’s operations and services in Mozambique, and what can customers expect during this transition period?

This is a strategic decision by the group to divest its operations in Mozambique and several other African countries and reorient the strategy elsewhere. We have different objectives worldwide. The group wanted to secure the future of the employees who have been here for over 10 years and looked for a group to acquire the bank and ensure that point. We also wanted to have a smooth transition in terms of client perspective and operation. The Mozambican team is essential because it will be the vehicle to keep the company running. We focus on compliance, risk, image risk, and reputational risk to ensure the bank remains consistent and robust. We wanted to empower our team and have held several workshops, coaching sessions, and leadership training for managers. Those components are set to secure a smooth transition for the client and ensure continuity in the operation for servicing them. Client experience is one of the main important points we are focusing on. I am thrilled with our position today. In December, we received the Capital Finance magazine award for the year’s best team. We appreciated the recognition because it was a collective success. We also created the House of SMEs, an initiative to be closer to the local economy and not just multinationals. Our third achievement is a premium business center. The goal is to offer our corporate clients an entire service value chain, from their employees, managers, and suppliers like SMEs. Typically, SMEs serve our prominent clients in transport, logistics procurement, and giant multinational corporations. Unfortunately, Mozambique is still not focusing enough on SMEs.

When and how will the transition from Société Générale to Vista Bank be managed?

The brand belongs to Société Générale, so the new brand should be Vista Bank or Vista Group Bank. The most important thing is to check the checkbooks and cards for all clients. We will soon finalize an agreement to make it smooth. Today, we are orienting it to make it run smoothly within six months. It is a fundamental, simple thing to make life easy for everyone, including clients and us. Our focus is to ensure quality service.

How do you instill a sense of commitment among the Société Générale Mozambique team to ensure they prioritize serving clients effectively?

I have invested heavily in empowering the Société Générale Mozambique team, regardless of whether they are the executive committee, mid-management, or employees because the bank is relatively small. I know the majority of the employees. We empower them and make them feel like they have ownership of their work, regardless of their responsibility. We want to see a commitment to doing their best to serve the client. I try to put myself in my clients’ shoes each time, as the critical element is thinking like a client. When I visit some branches, I visit them as a client. I usually take a first glance to see what is going on because having these fresh, objective eyes is essential to looking at things from an external point of view.

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