SWIFT has appointed Hugo Smit as its new Head of Africa South. Taking over from Edward Leach, who, after five successful years at SWIFT, has joined the South African Reserve Bank, Smit brings a wealth of experience to his new role, gained during his more than 20 years in the financial services industry.
He joins from mobile Voice over IP (VoIP) specialist V4M Group, where he was CEO and founder. Prior to that, Smit was CEO of key SWIFT regional partner Trustlink for five years, following a six-year stint at payment systems provider Perago, where he was founder and executive director. Smit has also spent more than 10 years in a variety of senior IT roles at South African Reserve Bank.
Commenting on his appointment at SWIFT, Smit says: "I am delighted to be taking up this opportunity at SWIFT at such momentous time in the development of our business in Africa South. I look forward to applying my experience of providing mission critical solutions to the financial markets in the region, in order to support our community in constantly improving levels of operational efficiency and capitalising on significant opportunities for growth. In particular, I am excited about what SWIFT can do to further support regional integration projects in Africa."
Christian Sarafidis, Head of Western Europe, Middle East and Africa at SWIFT, comments: "As SWIFT celebrates 30 years of operations in Africa, we are perfectly positioned to support the financial community in the region at all levels in tackling challenges and realizing opportunities. I am convinced that Hugo Smit's experience and well-deserved reputation will make a major contribution as we work with our customers in individual countries and across regional blocs in Africa to help them create the robust, reliable, cost-effective and flexible financial market infrastructures they need to fulfill the potential of their markets going forward. I am very pleased to welcome Hugo on board."
SWIFT is marking its 30 years of operations in South Africa with a Business Forum in Johannesburg.
Reflecting on the achievements of the past 30 years, SWIFT Board Member and Chief Risk Officer, Global Transaction Banking, FirstRand Bank, Rob Green says: "From modest beginnings of wanting to "kill the telex", South Africa has stretched way beyond this simple concept and proven itself to be innovative and dynamic in implementing new technologies and services. Our close working relationship with SWIFT has allowed us to change South Africa's financial and market infrastructures way beyond our expectations and I am sure we will continue in this spirit and reinvent our financial services environment even further into the future."
Alain Raes, Chief Executive, EMEA, SWIFT, comments: "The long-standing relationship between SWIFT and South Africa has led to many ‘firsts', with South Africa at the vanguard of implementing SWIFT's innovative solutions to support the creation of highly efficient and robust financial market infrastructures. The level of co-operation has been exceptionally good, and we look forward to many more mutual successes in the future, with our joint work in the context of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) initiative key among them."