Vikesh Ramsunder has resigned as chief executive officer of the Clicks Group, and will be replaced by Bertina Engelbrecht, who will be the first woman of colour to lead the company.
Vikesh Ramsunder opens the Woodstock Quarter store in 2019. Source: Clicks
Ramsunder's resignation is effective from 31 December 2021, after which he will take up a career opportunity as the CEO of a listed company in Australia. He will however continue as a strategic advisor to the Clicks Group until 31 August 2022.
Bertina Engelbrecht, currently the group corporate affairs director, will succeed Ramsunder as CEO from 1 January 2022. She joined the group in 2006 as group human resources director and was appointed as an executive director in 2008. In December 2020 Engelbrecht's portfolio was expanded to include strategic stakeholder engagement.
Bertina Engelbrecht. Source: Clicks
Ramsunder's contribution to Clicks
Clicks Group chairman, David Nurek, said: “Vikesh has demonstrated outstanding leadership as CEO over the past three years and has led the group through several challenges in recent times, most notably through the Covid-19 pandemic. Vikesh has built a strong executive leadership team and we are confident in their ability to maintain the current momentum in the business. We are sorry to say goodbye to Vikesh and wish him well as he makes this international career move.”
In a Sens announcement, the group said that under Ramsunder’s leadership Clicks and UPD have "entrenched their market-leading positions" and the group has expanded its retail presence to 841 stores and 621 pharmacies. In this three-year period, the group’s share price has increased by 60% and the market capitalisation on the JSE has risen from R48bn to R75bn, despite markets being severely impacted by Covid-19.
“We are pleased to appoint Bertina as the first black female to lead a listed retail group in South Africa. She has been part of the executive leadership team for the past 15 years and been integrally involved in the development of the group’s strategy and growth of the business over this time. Appointing an internal successor of Bertina’s calibre highlights the depth of talent and commitment to sustainable transformation and human capital development within the company,” said Nurek.
Outgoing CEO Ramsunder commented: “I am leaving Clicks Group and South Africa with a heavy heart. It has been an honour to lead the Clicks Group and to have been part of such a dynamic and transformed business which has presented me with career-defining opportunities.”
Prior to joining the Clicks Group, Engelbrecht was general manager for Shell SA Energy and regional human resources manager for Shell Oil Products Africa. Earlier in her career, she was director of organisational effectiveness at Sea Harvest, managed her own consultancy practice and spent eight years with Transnet. She holds a master of laws degree and is an admitted attorney.
Engelbrecht commented: “Being appointed CEO of a company of the stature of Clicks Group is a privilege and I thank the board for their confidence and support in entrusting me to lead the company. Clicks Group is on a sustained growth trajectory thanks largely to the quality of the highly experienced executive team and I look forward to leading this strong team from January next year.”