South Africa's second-largest open medical scheme, Bonitas Medical Fund, has announced the appointment of a new Principal Officer. Taking up the reigns from 1 May 2019 is Mr Lee R Callakoppen.
Callakoppen, who has a Masters in Human Resources Management, began his career in the retail sector before moving into Human Capital, holding positions in various industries ranging from retail to telecommunications and media. Over the past 10 years he has been involved with Medscheme and the AfroCentric Group in various functions including Human Capital, Facilities Management and Transformation. Callakoppen also spent time managing the Medscheme International Operation and was appointed as Head of Bonitas Business Unit in June 2017.
"Under the successful leadership of Gerhard van Emmenis since mid-2017, Bonitas has grown in terms of stature and membership and also went through one of the biggest medical amalgamations seen in South Africa," says Callakoppen. "The Scheme has strengthened its financial position considerably. I look forward to building on the solid foundation that has been laid. The key focus areas will be to ensure the Scheme maintains strong corporate governance, strong performance and controls and to build on the mandate of making quality healthcare accessible for all South Africans, within an ethical culture.
"Together with the board and management team we will look at finding opportunities to further grow Bonitas. This means not only retaining our existing membership base but attracting younger and healthier members to ensure the sustainability of the Scheme," says Callakoppen.
"I would like to emphasise that the intention is to build excellence in all we do to enhance member value, especially in light of the challenging economic environment our members face as well as improving the administrative processes."
Callakoppen is in full support of a universal healthcare system, which aligns to Bonitas mission to make quality healthcare more affordable and more accessible. "I have a good team working alongside me and we hope to keep the Fund sustainable and offer our members access to benefits and services of the highest standard."
Callakoppen succeeds Gerhard van Emmenis who was appointed Principal Officer in July 2017. Van Emmenis was part of the Scheme’s Executive Team since 2006 when he joined at Chief Operations Officer. Under his leadership the Scheme announced, in July 2018, the best financial results in its 36-year history, reporting a solid surplus of R730.2 million and recouping a R16.9 million deficit. Bonitas has also led the way in terms of fighting fraud, waste and abuse within the healthcare industry. Van Emmenis’s contract ended on April 30.
Callakoppen wishes to thank Gerhard for his commitment towards Bonitas and its members over the years. "Although Gerhard steps down as PO, we will work closely together through the transition period."