AngloGold Ashanti CFO Christine Ramon named CFO of the Year 2018

Christine Ramon, chief financial officer of gold mining company AngloGold Ashanti, has been named South Africa's CFO of the Year at the 2018 CFO Awards.

This was announced on Thursday 10 May 2018 at the end of the annual gala event for finance executives, held at Constitution Hill, Johannesburg. 

Christine is the first female winner of the most important award at the Oscars for finance executives, which celebrated its fifth edition this year. She scooped up four of the ten prizes, which was another first, also winning the Compliance & Governance Award, the High Performance Team Award, and the Moving into Africa Award.

The other big winner of the evening was Dis-Chem Pharmacies CFO Rui Morais, who was crowned Young CFO of the Year (for finance leaders aged 40 years and younger) and also won the much-coveted Strategy Execution Award and the Finance & Technology Award.

The extremely experienced Dr Krish Kumar, CFO of eThekwini Municipality, was named Public Sector CFO of the Year. The Transformation & Empowerment Award went to former Servest CFO Peter Walsh, who recently moved on to a new job overseas. The Finance Transformation Award was won by Aspen Pharmacare CFO Sean Capazorio.

The black-tie dinner was attended by 350 CFOs and prominent leaders from business and the public sector. It was preceded by the master class ‘Social Justice and Corporate Responsibility’ powerfully hosted in the former men's prison, in which thought leader and global speaker Vusi Thembekwayo, ZAR X CEO Etienne Nel and Thomson Reuters Africa MD Sneha Shah shared their views. The gala dinner itself was moderated by comedian Nik Rabinowitz, who regularly had the guests in stitches and ably managed the event.

CFO Awards 2018 winners:

CFO of the YearChristine Ramon (AngloGold Ashanti)
Young CFO of the YearRui Morais (Dis-Chem Pharmacies)
Public Sector CFO of the YearKrish Kumar (eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality)
Strategy Execution Award – Rui Morais (Dis-Chem Pharmacies)
Transformation & Empowerment AwardPeter Walsh (Servest)
High Performance Team Award – Christine Ramon (AngloGold Ashanti)
Compliance & Governance Award – Christine Ramon (AngloGold Ashanti)
Finance Transformation Award Sean Capazorio (Aspen Pharmacare)
Moving into Africa Award – Christine Ramon (AngloGold Ashanti)
Finance & Technology Award – Rui Morais (Dis-Chem Pharmacies)

The annual CFO Awards are organised by CFO South Africa, the organisation that connects finance professionals through monthly events, the quarterly CFO Magazine, this website and social media channels . By helping CFOs share knowledge, exchange interests and open up business opportunities, CFO South Africa proudly contributes to the growth of the country.

Services firm Deloitte was the principal sponsor of the 2018 CFO Awards, while other awards sponsors included Standard Bank, Oracle, Thomson Reuters, PwC, Workday, RMB, and Michael Page. Additional tables were sponsored by A2X, CHRO South Africa, Drayton Glendower, KPMG, Omnia, OUTsurance, Nike, PPC, Transparent and TransUnion. CFO South Africa’s indomitable founding entrepreneurs Alex van Groningen and Melle Eijckelhoff had flown in from The Netherlands and were both in attendance.

The CFO of the Year Award was handed out by Deloitte Africa chairman Trevor Brown and was gratefully accepted at the end of a memorable evening by Christine Ramon. Her finance team has played an integral role in recent successes in African countries like Ghana, DRC, Tanzania and Guinea.

Kandimathie Christine Ramon (right in family photo) comes from a remarkable accounting family from the Eastern Cape. Her brother Mark (left) is CFO at the JSE-listed AECI, while brother Veran (second from right) recently vacated a CFO role to become managing executive: commercial at Vodacom. Christine’s twin sister Justine Mazzocco (second from left) is a member of the executive committee at Deloitte Africa. 

For many years, Christine has been one of the country’s most prominent CFOs, working at Sasol from 2006 until 2013 and at AngloGold Ashanti since October 2014 and has formed a formidable pair with outgoing CEO Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan. She won the Finance & Technology Award at the 2016 CFO Awards. Christine is also a board member at MTN and the chairperson of the CFO Forum, a lobby group of finance executives of listed companies. She took over that role a few years ago from former Standard Bank FD Simon Ridley, who was elected CFO of the Year at the very first CFO Awards in 2014.

It is the first time in the five-year history of the event that a finance executive went home with no less than four prizes, with Christine also being honoured with the Compliance & Governance Award, the High Performance Team Award and the Moving into Africa Award. During her interview with the judges, Christine explained that her finance team is helping the company to move down the cost curve by being a true business partner, while progressing value-adding opportunities. She also told the judges that role modelling, being open and transparent, and communicating with people are among her best leadership traits, adding that she likes to give people accountability and empower them, but likewise expects them to keep her informed.

The 33-year-old Dis-Chem Pharmacies CFO Rui Morais went home with a nearly as impressive stack of prizes, being crowned Young CFO of the Year and winning the Strategy Execution Award for his involvement in the JSE listing and creating the reporting structures to understand the different operational returns between the dispensary and front shop.

After becoming an accountant at EY, Rui has spent his entire career to date at Dis-Chem and, with the introduction of non-executives after the listing, plays an important role as go-between with the founding CEO Ivan Saltzman. Rui also oversees many new IT initiatives, which helped him win this year’s Finance & Technology Award.

Temperament, tenacity and patience are among the most crucial traits for Dr Krish Kumar, who has been CFO at eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality since 2001 and was elected 2018 Public Sector CFO of the Year. Kumar had to make tough calls around IT implementation and the Bus Rapid Transit system in eThekwini. He is adept at achieving success in a highly politicised environment and emphasises that a good man cannot be bought. He has 38 years of local government experience and is committed to the triple bottom line, financial sustainability and environmental sustainability. 

Transformation & Empowerment Award winner Peter Walsh recently left Servest and moved to London to become the global CFO at ITL, a global leader in the provision of labels and tags to the apparel industry. He is widely known for his passionate views on transformation and says the lack thereof is a bigger threat to South Africa than corruption.

Aspen Pharmacare CFO Sean Capazorio won the Finance Transformation Award for the implementation of collaborative management reporting between group head office and the regions, which also helped kick off a technology enhancement cycle. 

The judges for the 2018 CFO Awards were extensively involved in interviewing the nominees. Along with the full interview reports they also received a dossier on each nominated CFO. They then voted electronically, scoring the CFOs on a scale from 1 to 10 in various categories. The illustrious panel of judges included:

  • Aarti Takoordeen, CFO JSE Limited & Young CFO of the Year 2014
  • Ben Marx, Head of the Accounting Department at the University of Johannesburg
  • Brett Tromp, CFO Discovery Health & Young CFO of the Year 2015
  • Carel Smit, Executive Committee Member, KPMG South Africa
  • Christo Els, Senior Partner, Webber Wentzel
  • Claudelle von Eck, CEO, The Institute of Internal Auditors South Africa
  • Deon Viljoen, Group CFO Discovery & CFO of the Year 2015 (at Alexander Forbes)
  • Kevin Black, Audit Partner, Deloitte
  • Leon Crouse, Former CFO Remgro and Vodacom & Winner of a Lifetime Achievement Award 2016
  • Mary Vilakazi, COO FirstRand
  • Simon Ridley, Former Group FD Standard Bank & CFO of the Year 2014, Winner of a Lifetime Achievement Award 2016
  • Sneha Shah, Managing Director, Africa Thomson Reuters
  • Victor Sekese, CEO SizweNtsalubaGobodo
  • Wiseman Nkuhlu, Chancellor of the University of Pretoria