FDB appoints first woman general manager

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As a first in fifty years, the Fiji Development Bank (FDB) is pleased to announce the appointment of a woman to an executive management role, including appointments to four other new key positions of which all are held by women.

Acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Nafitalai Cakacaka, said five women from diverse professional and social backgrounds are leading FDB’s capacity and talent development, strategic business growth, risk management, brand management, and the largest relationship and sales unit.

Ms. Mere Aisake-Asi recently joined the team to lead the Bank’s Talent and Organizational Development division as General Manager [GMTOD], along with the appointment of Ms. Setaita Tamanikaiyaroi as Manager Enterprise Risk and Business Development and Ms. Titilia Vakaoca as Manager Relationship and Sales Suva Branch.
Apart from these three key appointments, the positions of Team Leader Planning and Enterprise Risk Management, managed by Ms. Tamanikaiyaroi, are also led by two young women.

Mr. Cakacaka said the appointments are an achievement for the Bank, setting a precedent for staff to pursue greater career aspirations.
“The appointment GMTOD is a milestone achievement for the Bank who has never had a woman in the executive management position before. We have had women board of directors but the appointment of a woman as a general manager is the first for the Bank,” he said.

In addition, the five leadership positions are dynamic and empowering operational roles within the Bank, he said.
“We are proud to see that these roles that significantly contribute to strengthening service delivery and capacity building for the Bank are led by highly qualified and experienced professionals,” he said.

“Mere brings with her expertise of over 20 years of local, regional and international experience in the financial sector with a Master of Business Administration and Business Studies Degree. She is well positioned to lead the Bank in delivering international standard talent and leadership development changes to enhance our business strategies and performance,” said Mr. Cakacaka.

Setaita Tamanikaiyaroi was appointed to lead the Bank’s newly established Enterprise Risk and Business Development [ERBD] Department, providing strategic advice to management on enterprise-wide innovative enhancement of the Bank’s current and futuristic business direction.
“Setaita is responsible to lead the Bank’s regional and international affiliations and engagement initiatives including positioning the Bank as a leading financial service provider in the region,” he said.

She has over a decade of experience in banking and strategic risk management, and holds a Masters-level Certificate from the Pacific Bankers Management Institute, Pacific Banking School, USA as well as a Post Graduate Diploma in Development Studies.

With her academic and practical experience in Economics, Management and Development Bank Practitioner certification, she has been appointed to manage the teams responsible for promoting the Bank’s strategic direction in delivering services that support environmentally-friendly and sustainable development including renewable energy projects and integration of environmental and social safeguards in lending policies.

Titilia Vakaoca manages FDB’s largest lending branch, the Headquarters-located, Suva Branch. “Titilia has been appointed to establish the Suva Branch as the prime lending centre for high-end blue chip clients with sizable contribution to the Bank’s development agenda.“She has been appointed to the position with her strong background in lending and her academic background in tropical agriculture. She is responsible to maintain the Center portfolio and strengthen client’s relationship with the Bank.

Apart from coordinating the center portfolio, Ms. Vakaoca provides professional direction to assist in the development and enhancement of the Bank’s products.
Under the ERBD Department, two Team Leaders, Zarine Ali and Priya Chand, respectively, have been appointed to manage strategic planning and operational risks of the Bank.
“While Zarine manages the development and implementation of strategies that foster business growth and identification of lending focus as well as new business opportunities, Priya will be instrumental in setting up the mechanisms for managing enterprise risks through monitoring and compliance,” he said.

“Guided by its strategic goals, in July 2016, the Bank undertook a realignment exercise to refocus its emphasis on creating a dynamic and empowering team. The realignment that led to the creation of new roles and modification of some existing positions to support the new direction,” he said. He said FDB as a development financing institution recognizes the link between gender equality and economic empowerment.

Fiji’s only development financing institution has over the years taken ambitious and bold steps to promote conducive environments for the promotion of gender equality.

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