Precious Murena – Nyika, steering Lafarge to greatness

By Wellington Zimbowa
JUST two weeks in the office as Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe chief executive officer, Precious Murena – Nyika faces a mammoth task of spearheading the giant cement manufacturer’s vision 2022.

According to the company’s board chair Mr. Kumbirayi Katsande, the vision is to double the size of business, chiefly through the current US$25 million Expansion Project.

This entails adopting a vicious growth agenda, not merely adopting a plain survival mode, such as, tantamount with most companies given the suffocating economic environment.

For many, this is a tall order that can easily suffer a stillbirth, but the new company boss is determined to call the shots.

But more revealing about the company is its sheer commitment to the equal gender employment opportunities and confidence in employees based on quality attributes, skills and achievement track record.

A dynamic and results-oriented business leader is the best description for the vast business leader as noted by the company’s board chairman in a press statement announcing the new appointment. .

“She is a Zimbabwean national, who joined Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe in 2011 coming from a role as Operations General Manager in the furniture
retail and manufacturing industry.

“Prior to being appointed to this role, Precious (Nyika) was working as a Director in charge of Human Resources, Strategy and Communications in Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe,” he said.

Mr. Katsande said the new chief executive has over 15 years as an accomplished executive leading teams in Human Resource Management, Strategy, Operations Management, Projects, Innovation, business consulting and communications.

“From her track record in Lafarge, Precious is skilled at formulating business strategy and mobilizing teams to implement strategy with rigor that delivers results. She also achieved remarkable results while serving as President of the Institute of People Management IPMZ from 2017-2019,” he said.

Mrs. Nyika has cross cutting leadership experience including board membership in various organisations – professional institutions, parastatals, banking sector and non-governmental organisations.

Her academic portfolio includes a Bsc Honours in Psychology and a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) and a post graduate diploma in Leadership from the esteemed Harvard Business School.

“The Board of Directors, Management and Staff of Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe limited wish Precious success during her tenure in this new role. We also take this opportunity to thank Kaziwe for his outstanding contribution to Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe and wish him the best in his new role,” the statement added.

Reflecting on the company’s gender sensitive drive, Lafarge pioneered
the Lactation Facility programme.
Through this initiative, breastfeeding mothers bring their babies to work and are allowed to breast feed them at given intervals.

According to Mrs Nyika the initiative has enabled the company to attract and retain female employees who constitute 30 percent of the workforce, unlike in previous years.

Mrs. Nyika said staff motivation would be her key to the company’s success route.

In the community, the cement maker is engaged in a girl-child empowerment programme dubbed ‘Rise, Simuka Upenye’ offering education and capacity building support to the girl-child.

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