Board of Directors

RGA Americas Reinsurance Company, Ltd.,
South Africa Branch                                                                            

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Desmond Smith is currently Chair of the Board of RGA Reinsurance Company of South Africa Limited and Sanlam and holds several company directorships. Desmond joined Sanlam in 1968, where he became Managing Director in 1993. He retired from Sanlam at the end of 1997 and served as Managing Director of the Reinsurance Group of America (South Africa) (RGA) from 1999 until 2005.

An active member of industry organizations, Desmond serves on a number of the committees of the Actuarial Society of South Africa and the International Actuarial Association (IAA) and is the current President of the IAA. 

In addition, Desmond served as Chairman of the Life Offices Association of South Africa (LOA) in 1996, 2004 and 2008, and is a Past President of the Pensions Institute of Southern Africa and of the Actuarial Society of South Africa.

Desmond received his B.Sc. degree (cum laude) from the University of Stellenbosch. In 1973 he qualified as a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries (London) and completed the International Senior Management Programme (ISMP) at Harvard Business School in 1992.

Peter Doyle is currently a member of the Executive Committee of the International Actuarial Association. He also is a past President of the Actuarial Society of South Africa. 
From 1980 to 2008, Peter held various positions within Metropolitan Holdings Ltd, notably Managing Director of Metropolitan Life Ltd from 1998 to 2001 and Group Chief Executive of Metropolitan Holdings Ltd from 2001 to 2008.
Peter has written numerous articles and is a frequent presenter, primarily on the topic of the potential impact of the HIV epidemic in Southern Africa. He is the recipient of Actuarial Society of South Africa Murray Medal for contributions to the understanding the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Phillip Matlakala was appointed as a non–executive, independent director to the Board of RGA Reinsurance Company of South Africa on July 1, 2014.

Phillip has 21 years’ experience in the insurance industry. Beginning in 2001, Phillip held various positions at Metropolitan Holdings Limited, notably Chief Executive Officer of Metropolitan Retail from 2007 to 2014. He has served on several committees within the Metropolitan Group, including the Investment Services, Card Operations and Audit Committees.

In addition to his tenure at Metropolitan, Phillip spent nine years at Fedsure Life in a number of roles, and prior to that he was with Truworths Limited for five years as an Area Manager, controlling seven stores and managing a staff of 50.

Phillip received his B. Juris degree in 1985 and his B.Proc in 1998, both from the University of South Africa (Unisa). In 1999, he completed the Programme in Taxation and Financial Planning from Unisa.

Heather Sonn serves as the Managing Director of Gamiro Investment Group (Pty) Ltd. Heather trained as an investment banker with Merrill Lynch in New York. She subsequently held senior executive positions at Sanlam Investment management and Barclays. She is the former CEO of Legae Stockbrokers and deputy CEO of Wipcapital. She currently holds directorships on a number of listed company boards.

Theo van Wyk was appointed as a non-executive director of RGA Reinsurance Company of South Africa Limited as of May 1, 2012. He also is Chairman of Business Partners Ltd and a non-executive director of Air Products South Africa (Pty) Ltd.
From 1990 until 2011 he was an executive director of Rembrandt Group Ltd and, after the restructuring of the group, of Remgro Ltd. He has served as a non-executive director on the boards of various companies, including Gold Fields of South Africa, ABSA Group and Momentum Group. He was also chairman of Wispeco Holdings Ltd. Theo is a former President of the Afrikaanse Handelsinstituut (AHI) and has served on the executive committee and governing body of Business South Africa, the executive council of the National Economic Development & Labour Council (NEDLAC), the council of the SA Foundation and the board of the Business Trust.
From 1987 until 1990 Theo was the Registrar of Financial Institutions. He served as a member of the Competition Board, the Public Accountants’ and Auditors’ Board, the Financial Markets Advisory Board and the Technical Committee on Banking and Building Society Legislation. He was also the Chairman of the Long-term and Short-term Insurance Advisory Committees.
Before that Theo was professor of Mercantile Law, initially at the University of South Africa and thereafter at the University of Stellenbosch. He also participated as a member of the Margo Commission of Enquiry into the Tax Structure of South Africa.

Theo obtained his BComm and LLB degrees from the University of Stellenbosch, after which he joined the Department of Inland Revenue. He was admitted as an advocate in 1970 and proceeded to study fiscal law at the Free University of Brussels, subsequently receiving an LLM degree from the University of South Africa and a Higher Diploma in Tax Law from the University of Witwatersrand.

Simon Wainwright is Executive Vice President, EMEA. Prior to his current role, Simon was responsible for leading the management and growth of RGA’s businesses and operations in the U.K. and Ireland, Continental Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Simon has more than 30 years of strategic and global leadership experience in financial services. Prior to joining RGA in 2012 he worked for HSBC for 15 years in roles as varied as CEO HSBC Bank Ireland during the GFC, COO, Global Commercial & Corporate Banking, and Managing Director Insurance, EMEA. He has also held executive leadership roles with Lloyds Banking Group and Nationwide Building Society.

He holds several directorships with both RGA and external organizations. Simon is a graduate of The University of Reading and received a Diploma in Management Studies (DMS) from Oxford, as well as an M.B.A. from Henley Management School. In addition, he is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (now The Institute of Financial Services), and a Chartered Company Director and Fellow of the Institute of Directors.

Michael Porter, Managing Director of RGA Reinsurance Company of South Africa Limited, joined the company in 2012. Prior to his current role, Mike led business development efforts for 10 years, ensuring that RGA is an integral and trusted partner, a respected leader, and long-term value creator within the insurance industry.

By enhancing clients’ prosperity, Mike helped RGA become the largest reinsurer of group business and new retail business in the South African market.

Prior to joining RGA, Mike held senior leadership positions at several insurance companies. He has deep expertise of every aspect of life insurance gained over 20 years working across the industry and a demonstrated passion for people and improving their lives.