Rift Valley Corporation

History

Our history

Rift Valley has a long history of operating in Sub-Saharan Africa. Some of the Group’s individual businesses have been in operation since the early 20th century. From its inception, Rift Valley has focused on six objectives:

 

1. Building sustainable, long-term businesses in agriculture and energy
2. Advancing low operating costs
3. Ensuring positive cash flows across the Group
4. Acquiring and developing land with a clear sustainability mandate
5. Nurturing and expanding a cadre of outstanding operating managers
6. Maintaining a positive impact on communities in the areas of our business operations

 

In its present shape, RVC was formally established in 2012 when the Höegh and von Pezold families merged their families’ agricultural interests in Sub-Saharan Africa with a view to capitalizing on the increased scale and financial prowess of an integrated group.

 

The Höegh family first became involved with one of the Group companies approximately 15 years ago when one of the family’s investment vehicles acquired a stake in African Plantations Corporation, which at that time farmed and exported tea and coffee. Over the next 15 years the business went through several periods of expansion, investment and reorientation, as a result of which the family have become the Group’s controlling shareholder.

Our purpose

Over the long term, we will develop prosperity from the African land, water and resources entrusted to us.

Our values

Passion for Africa- We are African
100%

Professionalism -Through open communication, honesty and integrity we are committed to business excellence
100%

Courage - We take on and manage risks in challenging environments
100%

Tenacity - We are determined to overcome challenges while respecting the environments in which we operate
100%

Rift Valley Board of Directors

Thomas Høegh

Thomas Høegh
Chairman
  • Partner of Höegh Capital Partners Limited and Chairman of Kebony, a wood technology company
  • Serial investor in tech startups; founder of Arts Alliance Advisors, Arts Alliance Media, LoveFilm, Metropolitan Film School and Growth Street
  • Visiting professor of Kanazawa Institute of Technology, holds a BA from Northwestern University and an MBA from Harvard Business School

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Guy Lafferty

Guy Lafferty
Director
  • Retiring as RVC Chairman and Partner of Höegh Capital Partners Limited
  • Established Höegh Capital Partners Limited (formerly Lafferty & Partners Limited) in 1990 as a specialist corporate finance company and advised the Höegh family on its direct and public market investments since 1990
  • Previously worked at the investment banking arm of the Royal Bank of Canada and National Westminster Bank in London and New York

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Leif Høegh

Leif Høegh
Director
  • Partner of Höegh Capital Partners Limited, Chairman of Höegh Autoliners and Höegh Eiendom and a Director of Höegh LNG and Aker ASA
  • Previously worked as management consultant with McKinsey & Company and as an investment banker with the Royal Bank of Canada
  • Holds an MA in Economics from the University of Cambridge and an MBA from Harvard Business School

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Martine Vice Holter

Martine Vice Holter
Director
  • CEO and Partner of Höegh Capital Partners Limited
  • Extensive track-record of principal investing and asset management
  • Previous experience in investment banking at Goldman Sachs in New York and Hong Kong and in management consulting at McKinsey & Company in London
  • Holds an BA in Economics and Political Science from Queens University, Canada and an MBA from INSEAD

 

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Heinrich von Pezold

Heinrich von Pezold
Director
  • Responsible for managing his family’s extensive interests in Africa and has grown them significantly from 1990
  • Executive Chairman and controlling shareholder of Forrester Estate, a major Zimbabwean Tobacco producer
  • Partner of Msasa Capital
  • Holds a Master’s degree in History from Oxford University

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Peter Wheeler

Peter Wheeler
Director
  • Executive Vice President with the Nature Conservancy, a major global charity focused on the protection of the environment and founder, director or trustee of several other charities
  • Extensive emerging markets experience with previous positions as MD at Goldman Sachs in New York and Hong Kong and Head of Wholesale Banking EMEA and Americas at Standard Chartered Bank
  • Holds an MA in English Language and Literature from Oxford University

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Peter Rioda

Peter Rioda
Director
  • Director at the private equity division of Sanne Group
  • Previously a Director at Kleinwort Benson and Manager at Royal Bank
    of Canada
  • Holds a BSc in Mathematics and Statistics and an MSc in Management Science and Operational Research from the University of Warwick and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales

 

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Rift Valley Executive Officers

Tobs Strong

Tobs Strong
Chief Executive Officer
  • 20 years of experience, 11 years of which with RVC
  • Co-founder of Northern Tobacco and Northern Farming
  • Assumed role of RVC Group CEO in January 2014
  • Degree in Agricultural Business Management from London University and Qualified Chartered Accountant through PWC in England
  • Zimbabwean national

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Duncan Hamilton

Duncan Hamilton
Chief Operating Officer
  • 25 years of experience, 11 years of which with RVC
  • Co-founder of Northern Tobacco and Northern Farming
  • COO of RVC with direct responsibility for all of RVC’s export crops
  • Previous farm management experience in England, New Zealand and most recently as MD at Forrester Estate, a major Zimbabwean tobacco producer
  • Tertiary education at North of Scotland College of Agriculture, Aberdeen
  • Resides in Zimbabwe since 1991

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Paul West

Paul West
Chief Financial Officer
  • 22 years of experience, 4 years of which with RVC
  • Joined the Group at the beginning of 2011 as Group CFO
  • Extensive multinational experience, previous positions include CFO at African Lakes Corporation and Commercial Director at The New
    Forests Company
  • Bachelor of Social Science from the University of Cape Town and qualified accountant with Ernst & Young in the United Kingdom
  • Zimbabwean national

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Corporate Governance

Several of our companies have local boards with independent Non-Executive Directors. Robust corporate governance is a priority for RVC’s shareholders, its management and the wider Group. RVC’s governance arrangements rest on four
key pillars:

 

Engaged and effective board
The board includes shareholder representatives, management as well as two independent directors. Board and management meet at least quarterly for comprehensive face-to-face meetings. In addition to formal board sessions, committees and other forums (e.g. Audit, Risk, Compensation, Sustainability, Rift Valley Forestry, and Rift Valley Energy) allow for dialogue between management and the board members.

 

Stringent governance standards
Alongside a comprehensive set of financial authority policies tailored to each individual business unit, the Group has an active 8-person strong audit team as well as a strict Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy, other governance policies and documentation in line with international practice.

Active HQ monitoring individual platforms
Operational and financial business performance is tracked closely through weekly and monthly reporting against targets. Senior management conduct regular site visits to operations to review operational performance and ensure that subsidiaries receive appropriate support from the Group (e.g. involving expert resources from other platforms in specific issues, temporarily deploying HQ staff).

 

Corporate service providers
RVC is audited by PwC and works closely with local and international service providers, including legal advisers and banks depending on the needs of the Group at any given point.