Brian Joffe, Bidvest Group CEO, to step down

Brian Joffe (pictured), long-time group CEO and founder of Johannesburg-based Bidvest, plans to step down from his executive role and move instead to a director role dealing with strategic issues. Lindsay Ralphs, currently CEO of the company’s South African unit, will take over from him.

Joffe said:

"I will continue to play a role in SA to ensure that my expertise and experience that I have gained over the years will be made available."

Joffe founded Bidvest as Bid Corporation some 30 years ago, in 1988, and has built the business into a successful conglomerate with business interests that span various industries and include car dealerships, financial services, freight and pharmaceutical products. In recent months, Bidvest has been working to restructure its business operations into three companies: Bidvest Industrial Holdings, Bidvest Foodservice, and Bidvest Capital.

For the six months to 31 December 2015, Bidvest posted turnover growth of 9.6% to R114.5 billion, compared with the previous year's R104.4 billion. The growth was boosted by contributions from Bidvest Europe and Bidvest UK. Furthermore, Bidvest's results in rands were buoyed by currency depreciation because the local unit weakened against both the euro (by 18.72%) and pound (by 9.43%) over the past six months.

Joffee anticipates yet more pain from the South Africa market, which is likely to remain subdued in a low-growth environment. While his sentiment is echoed by other captains of industry in both the industrial and retail sectors, Bidvest's diversification will surely insulate it to some extent.

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