CFO Dinner reveals the recipe for growth


Top CFOs unpack what the ingredients are to achieve growth, and the obstacles they face on the way.

On Tuesday evening, 20 September, a group of top CFOs discussed what the recipe for growth is during a scrumptious three-course meal at the Ruby Room at Tryn in Cape Town. The accurately named Red Room was filled with optimism as the guests around the table agreed that there wasn’t one true recipe, but a combination of the right ingredients.

One of these ingredients, they said, was finding the right partners for your business, like Standard Bank CIB, who was a partner host for the evening. The guests explained that when you find the right synergy with another brand or business, and leverage that, you can unlock growth in areas that you had never thought of before.

Standard Bank’s acquisition of SnapScan in 2016, which had kicked off an aggressive growth phase for the fintech start-up, came up during the conversation. The bank’s recent acquisition and integration of Liberty was also mentioned, a deal that not only allowed Standard Bank to scale its insurance and asset management business, but exposed Liberty to a wider financial service offering and enabled it to leverage the economies of scale the bank has to offer.

Other ingredients to this recipe is the right team and the right processes, guests said.

However, they pointed out that cooking up growth didn’t come without its challenges, with loadshedding being the main hindrance. Some said that their businesses had seen a significant drop in their revenue that directly correlated with the loadshedding schedules.

They debated whether there was a solution to the power problem as greener and more renewable energy becomes more prevalent, but they all agreed that only companies with big balance sheets could afford this shift, and without the buy-in from government, many smaller organisations’ recipes would end in a flop.

In addition, a lot of organisations are fighting the war on talent, which is proving to be a challenge for creating the right teams. They said a lot of South African talent is being lost to countries like Australia, which has an unemployment rate of only three percent.

Spirits remained high, however, as the CFOs concluded that there is a lot of potential for growth in South Africa, if people know how to unlock it using the right ingredients.

These were the attendees of the dinner, hosted by CFO South Africa:

  • Anton de Bruyn, Shoprite CFO
  • Braam Smit, Astron Energy CFO
  • Caylynne Fourie, CFO South Africa managing editor
  • Christiaan Barnard, Spear REIT CFO
  • Clive Potter, Standard Bank head of corporate and investment banking, South Africa
  • Derick Truscott, SnapScan CFO
  • Georgina Guedes, CFO South Africa executive community director
  • Louis de Wet, Main Street CFO
  • Muhammad Brey, Sea Harvest Coporation CFO
  • Reeza Isaacs, Woolworths CFO
  • Sasha Cook, Standard Bank executive of sustainable finance
  • Sumari Coetzee, Sanlam Emerging Markets CFO

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