Emira reinforces its strong governance in uncertain times
Emira Property Fund continues to build confidence in its good governance and disciplined management process by taking action to reinforce its governance structures and enable agile decision making.
This month, the REIT appointed two new directors to its board: Berlina Moroole, as an independent non-executive director and James Templeton as a non-executive director. Both appointments were effective from 1 July 2020 and strengthened Emira’s leadership and oversight.
The board changes result in a 13-member board for Emira. Eight directors are independent, including the chairperson, three directors represent the company’s executive management, and the remainder are non-executive.
Geoff Jennett, CEO of Emira, says, “The new appointments bolster the Emira Board of Directors, and enhance its wealth of knowledge and skill. We look forward to Berlina’s and James’ contributions. Strong leadership, excellent communication, well-informed decision making, good governance and ethical behaviour are, we believe, the keys to doing the right things in this difficult time.”
With this in mind, since the COVID-19 pandemic reached SA, besides strengthening its board, Emira has provided business updates every second week to its board, participated in the sector’s collective response to the crisis through the Property Industry Group, and granted relief and assistance to its qualifying tenants, especially small businesses. It has also continued to honour its social and environmental responsibilities.
“There is no blueprint for responding to this extraordinary situation but, in times of stress, it is essential to move deftly. We have enjoyed frequent and substantial access to our board, our local co- investors Enyuka Property and Transcend Residential Property funds, and our US-based partner, The Rainier Companies. By taking the right steps early, guided by our corporate culture and our purpose, our team has risen to the challenges and been able to make early decisions based on available information. We’ve been able to act swiftly and strategically in a rapidly unfolding situation,” adds Jennett.
Emira is invested in a quality, balanced portfolio of office, retail, industrial and residential properties in South African and holds about 10% of its investments offshore with its core equity investment comprising ten grocery-anchored value-orientated open-air convenience shopping centres in the USA.
The REIT’s leadership requires exceptional skills, and new independent non-executive Berlina is a CA(SA) who has joined Rand Mutual Assurance as Chief Risk Officer. Before this, she was an independent non-executive board member, chairperson of the audit committee and social and ethics committee as well as a member of the risk committee at Assupol. She has held several other senior management roles at different companies, including Chief Internal Audit, Risk and Sustainability Officer of the Motus Corporation as well as Group Chief Risk Officer and Group Executive for Group Internal Audit Services at Liberty Holdings Limited, and was a partner at Deloitte & Touche.
James is a representative of the iGroup, a Cape Town-based property investment and development group, which owns circa 33% of Emira shares in issue. Further, he is the CEO of Castleview Property Fund and has singular insight into Emira as its former CEO.