5 CFOs who grew up poor


The country's CFOs have the financial firepower to enjoy a luxurious lifestyle, but for many, the life they now lead in the upper echelons of business is a world away from the circumstances they found themselves in growing up, dreaming of a better life. Here are five CFOs who overcame the odds to beat poverty and join an elite club of financial executives:

Luvuyo Masinda, the 37-year-old CFO of Standard Bank's Corporate and Investment Banking division from a single-parent home in Mandalay, a small township on the Cape Flats, has an aptitude for cricket, mathematical skills and a passion for purpose to thank for his rise. "Thanks to the provincial tours, I went on an airplane to Johannesburg for the first time, I stayed in a hotel for the first time; I swam in a swimming pool for the first time, and I ate pizza for the first time."

Companies Tribunal CFO Irene Mathatho grew up in a rural village in Mokopane, Limpopo, and did not have a role model to look up to, but her love for reading and learning made up for this.

Imperial Holdings CFO Osman Arbee used his love for maths and accounting as an "exit strategy" to escape to a better life. "When you're a youngster growing up in Dullstroom if you don't get an education you're going to be stuck behind a shop counter for the rest of your life."

Growing up in poverty in rural Mpumalanga motivated Sihle Ndlovu to pursue a career in finance. The 35-year-old SAIPA and PhD candidate was named the Young Farmer of the Year in 2016 and is making an important contribution to the agricultural sector.

At the age of four, Woolworths Group Financial Director and 2016 CFO of the Year Reeza Isaacs was forcibly evicted with this family from their home in District 6, relocating to Surrey Estate on the Cape Flats. The fourth of seven children, a lack of funding put paid to his dreams of becoming a doctor, though a bursary allowed him to become a chartered accountant instead.

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