This comes after shareholder concerns about the independence of some of Sanlam's long-serving non-executive directors.
Sanlam announced on Thursday that its chairperson Johan van Zyl will be stepping down at the annual general meeting next year.
“Dr Van Zyl thought that it would be in the best interests of Sanlam, taking into account both personal factors and the Prudential Authority governance framework for insurers, which recently became available,” Sanlam told Business Report.
“These discussions have been ongoing for several months and have become more focused from the beginning of 2018. The board took a final decision here on Wednesday.”
Van Zyl will also be stepping down as a member of the nominations committee, but remain on as a non-executive director of the board.
He was appointed to the role in June 2017. He is the chief executive of Ubuntu-Botho, which is the largest shareholder in Sanlam. He also serves as co-CEO of African Rainbow Capital.
He previously served as Sanlam’s CEO from 2003 to 2015 and Santam from 2001 to 2003.