CFOs of Oceana, Spur and Ascendis Health speak to Awards judges

The work of the panel of judges for the CFO Awards 2015 might be a huge responsibility and - at times - a lot of work, but it is definitely never boring! On Thursday and Friday nominated CFOs from Africa's largest fishery, one of our most beloved restaurant groups and a Cape Town-based healthcare firm were interviewed by the judges. Earlier that we the panel had already learnt about aerospace and defence, fleet management, waste management and the governance of mining.

On Thurday I visited the head office of Oceana Group in Cape Town's CBD. On behalf of the panel of judges Riad Gydien, Vice President - Africa, Middle East, Pakistan & Turkey at Business Analytics and Business Intelligence Software firm SAS, was leading the conversation with Oceana's young CFO Imraan Soomra. The 40-year old, who previously worked for the 2010 Soccer World Cup bid,

Supersport and Netcare, has made huge strides in cost cutting and modernizing the finance team. Already Africa's largest fishery (and who doesn't know their famous brand Lucky Star!), Oceana has now set sights on worldwide expansion and diversification.

Later in the day, Riad also helped out during the interview with Ronel van Dijk, Spur Corporation's passionate CFO and brand ambassador. Ronel often visits our events and we chatted to her last year about the group's growth inside and outside South Africa. Although the interviews with the panel of judges is confidential, I am sure that Ronel doesn't mind me writing that she is absolutely passionate about the Spur Foundation and about a program to upskill talented waiters to become floor managers.

On Friday we met with Robbie Taylor, CFO at Ascendis Health, which recently listed on the JSE Limited. With their head office tucked away in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town, Ascendis is a health and care brands company operating in plant, animal and human health. CFO South Africa's founding director Melle Eijckelhoff was at hand to listen to Taylor's appealing story of aggressive acquisitions, growing revenue and rising share prices.