Ishemunyoro Chingwere Business Reporter
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa has praised outgoing board members of listed diversified media group Zimbabwe Newspapers (1980) Limited.
Board chairman Mr Delma Lupepe has left the media group, having joined as a board member in September 2009 before assuming the chairmanship on May 18, 2015.
Mr Lupepe exits together with seven other board members, namely Dr Nyasha Madzingira and Mr Rungamo Mbire, who have served Zimpapers since 2009; Mrs Doreen Sibanda, Bishop Trevor Manhanga and Messrs Terrence Hussein, George Manyere and Felix Moyo, who have been on the Zimpapers board since February 2014.
Ms Karen Dube, Ms Rejoice Nharaunda and two executive directors will be remain on the board whose other members will be announced in due course.
Speaking at a farewell function for the outgoing board members yesterday, Minister Mutsvangwa said the outgoing members left with their heads held high, having steered the Zimpapers ship during a period the group has grown to be an integrated media house with 11 newspapers, four radio stations, a television station and a viable commercial printing division.
“We are meeting here today so that I can thank you for the tireless and distinguished service that you offered to Zimpapers during your tenure,” she said. “We really are grateful from the ministry point of view; we thank you sincerely.
“You did not just offer this service to Zimpapers, but also to your country, your people and you actually gave the company a strategic role in public communications and that’s applauded.”
Minister Mutsvangwa said Zimpapers remained the most dominant media player despite the emergence of many other news platforms.
“Your leadership of this company coincided with one of the most challenging periods of post-independence Zimbabwe when the economy was heavily weighed down by the sanctions imposed by its Western detractors,” she said.
“But together with the management team and the workers, you steered the company to remain profitable and continued to invest into new projects. Today, I can proudly say Zimpapers is a testament of resilience and survival.
“It is a story of sustainable growth and value creation for all stakeholders.”
Mr Lupepe said it was an honour for him to serve on the Zimpapers board and predicted a positive future for the company, especially on the back of revenue from printing, television and digital platforms.
“I was saying (to other board members) it’s been an honour and a privilege for me to lead this board,” he said. “I have been on several boards; this has been the most harmonious board.”
On the major highlights of his tenure, Mr Lupepe said: “This company was in a serious loss position, we were planning to close Natprint. We had just closed Typocrafters and that turnaround (led) to Natprint performing as it’s performing now.
“Also, the ZTN (Zimpapers Television Network); that’s exciting. It’s quite an exciting project and I think it’s the future, as well as the digital side of the company that is also growing.”
Mr Lupepe said he expected ZTN, the printing division and digital platforms to become the largest revenue earners for Zimpapers.