Ashley has resigned as UCT executive director of finance to focus on newly founded Safricang Group.
Ashley Francis has stepped down from his role as University of Cape Town executive director of finance to pursue his dream of being an entrepreneur, having recently founded his own company called Safricang Group.
“I am extremely excited as I commence my entrepreneurial journey utilising and focusing on my industry experiences of food and agriculture, real estate, renewable energy and education, then integrating these with latest technology whilst holding firm on the cornerstones of financial and business acumen,” Ashley says.
Ashley, 2020 CFO Awards nominee, has dreamt of becoming an entrepreneur his whole life and, after seven years at UCT, he finally has the chance to realise his dream as the founder and CEO of Safricang Group, which will specialise in food, agriculture, real estate, renewable energy, education and technology.
The realisation that he was ready to further pursue his dream came during lockdown, and Ashley says that, after many discussions with his family, he made the decision to resign from his role at UCT so he can focus on building the new company.
Ashley joined UCT on 1 September 2013. He was appointed as executive director of finance in the midst of the student and labour protests of 2015, and was tasked with making the university financially sustainable.
He has introduced a commercial development division within finance, focused on profitable endeavours within the university, including a food and hospitality offering. He was also instrumental in the introduction of an austerity programme, which took R112 million out of the university’s cost base. He has also created a brand and identity for the finance department, and initiated a project to entirely digitise finance by 2023.
Ashley’s last day of service to the university was 25 August.
UCT group FD Hardy Martiz will step in as acting executive director of finance.