Youthful Chief Executive Officer for giant insurance company United General Insurance (UGI) Bywell Blair Chiwoni has resigned from his position.
In a circular to staff members dated 16 February 2022, UGI Board chairman Macfussy Kawawa informs that Chiwoni tendered his resignation on 1st February 2022 and that the board has since accepted his resignation.
“The Board regrets this development, but upon understanding the reasons for Mr. Chiwoni’s departure, had duly accepted the resignation. Please join me and the Board in thanking Mr. Chiwoni for the service that he has rendered to the company for the nine years he has been with UGI. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors,” said Kawawa in the circular.
Chiwoni confirmed his departure in an interview.
“Yes, it’s true. I tendered my resignation on 1st of February. Am not ready to disclose my next move but I have found a growth opportunity I would love to pursue,” he said.
He said he is leaving a happy man citing some achievements which he said were possible because of the good team work that exist at UGI.
“When I look back, I look at some of the things we have achieved as a team, like brand visibility and recognition. You will agree with me that the UGI brand is now highly visible. There is also the issue of stability, when I was joining there was a time that most stakeholders thought that the company won’t last but that fear is no more,” said Chiwoni.
He also boasted that UGI is the most innovative insurance company in its space saying he led a team that brought telematics to Malawi, arguing that telematics is the future of insurance.
Chiwoni also said he is proud to have mentored and raised leaders of the next generation of the industry and deliberately targeting women.
“UGI has received dozens of awards in recognition and these include; best service provider in general insurance for two years running, most innovative insurance company, most improved brand, Auto Serve best product. I am proud to be part of this,” said Chiwoni.
Talking about his low moments of his career at UGI, Chiwoni cites the loss of ‘my genuine and longtime coach and mentor the first UGI MD late Sir Ian Kumwenda who discovered me when I was a clerk and modelled me to be a reputable leader’.
“Even after leaving UGI when I picked up an international job, he still followed me and finally asked me to come back to groom me as part of a succession plan when he had two years to retire,” said Chiwoni.
He also said another low moment was in his first year as CEO when ‘I was baptized by fire as the company made a huge loss as I took a bold step to clear out some legacy issues’.
“I would like to appreciate my former co-workers for believing in me, trust me their loyalty to me was undeniable even my fellow industry CEOs confessed to me of how they tried to get most of my staff but they bluntly told them we cannot leave Bywell and for this I will remain grateful to them.”
“Lastly, thanks to the board of directors of UGI for all the guidance and support but on a special note, God bless my former board chair Macfussy Kawawa he was always sincere and objective in dealing with me,” said Chiwoni.
UGI has since appointed MacDonald Chibwe as Acting CEO until the substantive appointment has been made by the board, according to Kawawa.