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Letšeng Diamonds appoints CEO

by Lesotho Times
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Mohalenyane Phakela

DIAMOND mining concern, Letšeng Diamonds, has appointed former Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Kelebone Leisanyane, as its CEO with effect from 12 February 2018.

Mr Leisanyane, an experienced business man in his own right, takes over from acting CEO, Mr Jeff Leaver, who will however, remain with Letšeng Diamonds in an advisory and supportive capacity.

The chairperson of Letšeng Diamonds, Clifford Elphick, announced the appointment this week.

Mr Elphick expressed confidence that Mr Leisanyane would “contribute meaningfully to the further success of the company”.

He also said that Mr Leaver who has 35 years’ experience in mining, “particularly in the diamond industry, would continue to fill a valuable role at Letšeng”.

“During this time, he (Mr Leaver) will provide industry-specific support to Mr Leisanyane and in addition, will continue to focus on the important function of transferring his skills and knowledge to the Letšeng management team in general,” Mr Elphick said.

For his part, Mr Leaver welcomed the appointment of Mr Leisanyane saying “I am confident Mr Leisanyane will ensure that Letšeng Diamonds continues to contribute meaningfully to all shareholders and stakeholders”.

Letšeng Diamonds’ Communication and Community Relations Officer, Lebonang Chefa, said the company’s board was optimistic that Mr Leisanyane would deliver.

“The search for a replacement CEO was launched over a year ago.

“Apart from the number of expatriate applications, in excess of 140 applications were received and vetted from Basotho nationals. After an exhaustive selection process, Ntate Kelebone Leisanyane was nominated to and accepted by the Board as the most suitable local candidate.

“The Board has full confidence in Ntate Leisanyane to carry out the job and will ensure that he gets all the support he requires,” Chefa said.

Mr Leisanyane holds a Bachelor of Industrial Engineering degree from the University of Ireland and a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from the Management College of Southern Africa.

He describes himself as a “results-oriented and highly focused individual with exceptional leadership, communication and interpersonal abilities”.

He served as LNDC from 2014 to 2017 and he lists among his major accomplishments the completion of Tikoe Industrial Estate which created 6000 jobs as well as the completion of the feasibility study for the proposed Ha Belo Special Economic Zone in the Butha-Buthe district.

He also served as Managing Director of Loti Brick PTY (Ltd) from 2006 to 2014, during which time he says he “developed and implemented a turnaround strategy that turned Loti Brick from a loss making entity to a profitable business”.

Mr Leisanyane joins Letšeng Diamonds at a time when the company is basking in the glow of the recent discoveries of five high value diamonds including the 910 carat, D Colour Type IIa diamond whose recovery was announced on 15 January, 2018.

The diamond, which has been valued at approximately half a billion maloti, is the largest to be mined to date at Letšeng and it is also believed to be the fifth largest gem quality diamond ever recovered in the world.

British firm, Gem Diamonds, owns 70 percent of Letšeng Diamonds with the remaining shares being held by the government.

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