Last week CFO South Africa manager Graham Fehrsen met with Delphine Maïdou, CEO Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty Africa. Delphine is a great supporter of CFO South Africa and we ran two great interviews with her in the past about South Africa as springboard for Allianz (2013) and the need for CFOs to think about succession planning (2014). Graham and Delphine spoke mostly about knowledge sharing - here is his report.
By Graham Fehrsen, manager CFO South Africa
As one of the judges for CFO South Africa in the annual CFO Awards process, Delphine was positive about the growth of the community and the thoroughness of the process. "I am involved in a number of judging processes for professional communities and the CFO South Africa process is certainly one of the most thorough and can take up at least two full days if you get involved in the interviews which provide such rich detail."
In the photo: Graham Fehrsen (CFO South Africa) and Delphine Maïdou (Allianz)
When quizzed on whether she thought CFOs are benefitting from the growth of the community she was frank in her response. "So many professionals gather under one umbrella but for some reason CFOs had not managed to do so easily until CFO South Africa provided a platform. It really is a great opportunity for CFOs to gather, share and learn."
And what of the benefits to her, and Allianz in general, as a partner of this community? As a business, Delphine said Allianz was passionate about knowledge sharing and development for clients, as a way of empowering clients about their options and the challenges that Allianz can support them on. "A number of our clients in South Africa had good financial results this year as a result of claims support we provided. This obviously impacts our results but we believe in the long term relationship that comes with insuring corporate clients".
It seems Allianz and CFO South Africa share a mutual passion for knowledge sharing but Delphine truly lives this out and was quick to pick up the phone and get her CFO, Kevin Barnes, to join our conversation. She was also quick to volunteer her team to provide CFOs with thought leadership and learning - something to keep an eye on in the future.
"It seems Allianz and CFO South Africa share a mutual passion for knowledge sharing" - Graham Fehrsen, manager CFO South Africa
Would she consider joining the panel again in 2016? "Of course" she said, with that charming and energetic smile. It was back into the Johannesburg freeze as I left the offices of Allianz, but with a sense that communities have so much to gain from members that have a "give to get" attitude. Not just in business but in life.