CFOs who became CEOs: making a smooth transition

A look back at some of the CFOs who had to make the transition to CEO this year.

When current Dis-Chem CEO and co-founder Ivan Saltzman announced his retirement this year, following the publication of the group’s results, CFO Rui Morais (pictured) was nominated as his successor.

Rui Morais has been the CFO of Dis-Chem since August 2012, and won the Young CFO of the Year Award at the 2018 CFO Awards for the role as the CFO of Dis-Chem. Prior to becoming CFO, he served as group financial executive for 18 months.

Before joining Dis-Chem, he held various senior managerial roles in the audit sector at EY, with Dis-Chem included in his portfolio.

Read more: CFO Rui Morais identified as Dis-Chem's next CEO

For Jason Quinn, Absa’s interim group chief executive officer, the move to the hot seat happened just 15 months after his predecessor, Daniel Mminele joined the bank. Daniel stepped down due to differences with the board on future strategy. Jason was then appointed as interim group chief executive officer with immediate effect.

Much like Rui, Jason also has his own set of accolades. In his previous role as Absa’s group FD, Jason was awarded the 2020 CFO of the Year for his work during that period. He joined the bank in 2008 as a financial controller and was appointed as the head of finance in 2014 after holding several senior finance positions.

Read more: Absa group FD Jason Quinn steps in as interim group CEO

He is the chairman of the models committee and a member of the group risk and capital management, credit concentration risk, information technology and separation oversight committees at Absa.
Xolani Mbambo was next to step into the CEO role this year as Grindrod Freight Services’ new CEO. He previously served as the company’s FD, with a brief stint in its operations.

While Xolani was quite eager about his new role, he was well-aware of the tough road ahead of him. “I am looking forward to this role with much excitement, but I am under no illusion on the challenges that lie ahead,” he said.

Xolani went on to say that he looked forward to driving the growth of the business by delivering on its strategy to unlock trade corridors in Africa. This will ensure that the products destined for export and import find the most efficient and cost-effective corridors in which Grindrod operates.

According to Xolani, his previous experience gives him an advantage in his new role because translating operational KPIs into numbers or financial outcomes and targets becomes second nature.

“But one needs to take caution not to constrain the business as accountants are generally known to have more guardrails than playing fields,” he adds. “One is also able to quickly assess the financial impact of the chosen operational action item or investment decision against required return or applicable investment metrics.”

Read more: Xolani Mbambo looks forward to his new role as Grindrod Freight Services CEO

Last but not least, Warren Prinsloo of Jasco Electronics was named CEO, succeeding interim CEO Pete da Silva. Warren had been Jasco’s CFO for 15 years before taking over for da Silva.

Read more: Jasco Electronics appoints new CEO and CFO