Ashona Kooblall shares her playbook for navigating the CFO role

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Having been with IOCO for four years as FD before being appointed as CFO, Ashona Kooblall already has a plan for the new role.

Ashona Kooblall started as the new CFO of IOCO Group in January 2024, one of Africa’s largest technology service providers and part of the EOH Group. “I am thoroughly excited about the future and the transformation that technology brings in all walks of life,” she says.

EOH recently decentralised the majority of its head office functions, and now principally operates its ICT and OT businesses from IOCO, which operates across Africa, Europe and the Middle East (EMEA).

“As with any CFO role in the EMEA landscape, it’s important to focus on understanding the macroeconomic landscape we operate in, as well as the risks and opportunities we face. There is great opportunity in both Africa and international markets and unlocking these opportunities will set us up for exponential growth. My objective is to understand what lies ahead and how we can continue to lead the business to grow successfully,” she says about the new role.

She adds that it is imperative for a CFO to stay future-focused, protect the company’s performance and support the achievement of its strategic goals.

Ashona is not new to the company, however, as she previously served as its FD, which means her approach has not changed much going into the CFO role. She plans to focus on comprehensive financial analysis, strategic planning alignment, risk management, strong stakeholder engagement and team empowerment.

“I strongly align with three aspects that dictate how effectively CFOs execute decisions: leadership style, the company’s strategic imperative and company culture. My leadership approach is generally that of a collaborative creator – leading, coaching, inspiring and motivating my team to solve complex enterprise issues and identify positive opportunities to enhance company performance,” she explains, emphasising that celebrating success is also important as a team.

Already familiar with many of the opportunities IOCO and the technology industry brings, her playbook for handling twists and turns is to remain deeply focused on the priorities of the business and what it wants to achieve. “Being a quick decision-maker with strong business acumen is key,” she says.

“A successful CFO must see risks and opportunities behind financial data and act as a strategic partner to the CEO. To do this, a good CFO needs to instil confidence, have strong leadership skills, excellent communication with team members, and be an expert on current financial topics related to their industry.”

“The digital transformation journey remains close to my heart as we continue to see the benefits it brings to organisations,” she adds on a positive note.

Her first priority as CFO is to define her top priorities for the finance functions of IOCO, and to build strong relationships with its key stakeholders.

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