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South African science funder confirms executive shake-up

NRF says two deputy chief executives have vacated roles “indefinitely” amid organisational review

Two top executives at South Africa’s National Research Foundation have vacated their posts, the foundation has confirmed.

Clifford Nxomani and Eugene Lottering no longer occupy the posts of deputy CEO, national research infrastructure platforms, and deputy CEO, research and innovation support and advancement, respectively. Both remain NRF employees.

Staff at the NRF found out about the changes in emails sent out by the CEO this month. The emails state that Nxomani and Lottering are “currently out of office for an indefinite period” and that further updates will be provided in due course.

The two make up half of NRF CEO Fulufhelo Nelwamondo’s four-strong executive team.

The reasons why the pair have vacated their posts are confidential, an NRF spokesperson told Research Professional News. However, the spokesperson said the NRF is reviewing its organisational structure, and that the process is not yet complete.

“At the appropriate time, and if deemed necessary, the NRF may issue a media statement,” the spokesperson said.

Their posts have been filled in the interim by Gugu Moche, who has taken over Lottering’s post in an acting capacity, and Angus Paterson who is serving in an acting position in Nxomani’s role.

Moche joined the NRF in 2020 after serving as deputy vice-chancellor for teaching, learning, community engagement and student support at the University of South Africa.

Paterson is the long-term managing director of the NRF’s South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity.