Challenges, opportunities, new roles - the top CFO movers of 2018

These CFOs appointments and resignations made a big impact in the past 12 months.

2018 was a year of many companies revising their management structures due to scandals, corrupted executives and time for changes. Here are the companies whose management changes left the biggest impression in the finance world. 

Mary Vilakazi appointed as COO of FirstRand

Mary’s appointment as group chief operating officer and executive director of FirstRand was big news. In 2017, Mary was nominated for the CFO Awards, and Laurie Dippenaar, chairman of FirstRand, recognised the same potential Mary had to offer. 

“Expanding the insurance profit pools in FirstRand’s domestic business is one of the most significant levers for future growth and shareholder value creation and the board is excited to have someone of Mary’s calibre driving that strategy… Mary’s time at MMI also means she has an excellent understanding of the financial services regulatory environment, which will be a critical underpin to the domestic strategy of delivering integrated financial services to our customers.”

Read more: Mary Vilakazi appointed Group COO of FirstRand

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Calib Cassimm now Eskom’s permanent CFO

After 16 months as acting CFO of Eskom, Calib Cassim was permanently appointed, following the suspension of Anoj Singh in September after allegations that he had been involved in irregularly awarding contracts to Gupta-linked businesses and receiving gifts and trips from the Gupta family. 

Read more: Eskom CFO Anoj Singh resigns

Calib has already presented Eskom’s interim results for the period ended 30 September, saying that a turnaround of the company wouldn’t happen overnight and that their financial situation is only expected to improve by 2023. 

Read more: Calib Cassim now Eskom's permanent CFO 

Mr Price hands out promotions after the resignation of Stuart Bird

Stuart Bird, Mr Price Group’s CEO of eight years, resigned with effect from 31 December 2018 and executive director as of March 2019. 

His spot will be filled by current CFO of eleven years Mark Blair with effect from 1 January 2019. 

Read more: Mr Price CFO Mark Blair to take over as CEO

Mark Stirton, Mr Price’s corporate finance director, will be replacing Mark Blair as CFO with effect from 1 January 2019. 

Read more: Mr Price's Mark Stirton promoted to CFO after resignation of Stuart Bird

Zaf Mahomed takes over from Tyrone Soondarjee as Cell C CFO

Zafar ‘Zaf’ Mahomed has taken over as the CFO at Cell C as of December, taking over from Tyrone Soondarjee, who resigned less than a year after joining the group. 

Tyrone cited “personal circumstances” and will be joining his family business on a full-time basis. 

Read more: Cell C CFO Tyrone Soondarjee to retire

Cell C CEO Jose Dos Santos said that they are pleased to welcome Zaf Mahomed to to the mobile telecommunications company:

“He brings extensive financial, management and business experience to the role and we look forward to adding his expertise to Cell C’s leadership team. He has broad strategic insight, which I am confident will be put to great use in the next phase of our journey as a business.” 

Zaf commented on his appointment, saying:

“Telecommunications is a fast-paced and exciting industry and I look forward to joining the team at Cell C and putting my skills to work in such a vibrant and interesting business.”

Read more: Cell C appoints Zafar Mahomed as new CFO 

Naidene Ford-Hoon quits as Alexander Forbes Group CFO after firing of Andrew Darfoor

Naidene Ford-Hoon resigned as the Group CFO of Alexander Forbes with effect from 31 December. 

Her resignation came eight days after CEO Andrew Darfoor - with whom she worked very closely - was fired. 

Read more: Alexander Forbes Group CFO Naidene Ford-Hoon quits

Standard Bank’s management changes

Brooks Mparutsa was appointed as CFO at Standard Bank Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB), succeeding Luvuyo Masinda, who swapped his role for that of Head of Client Coverage. 

Read more: Brooks Mparutsa joins Standard Bank as CIB CFO 

Kobus Roesch has been promoted from head of the Financial Insight & Analytics team for Transactional Products and Services (TPS) to the new Standard Bank CFO of Investment Banking as of 1 June. 

Kobus says about his plans for the new role: 

“The next couple of years will definitely be very exciting as we continue to focus and drive our Africa strategy. Globally banking is transforming at a rapid pace and we need to ensure we are agile and adequately equipped for these changes.”

Read more: Standard Bank appoints new CFO of Investment Banking

Sibusiso Xaba has also been promoted from COO to CFO of Standard Bank Transactional Products and Services. 

His plans for the new role are: 

“I am fortunate to inherit a world-class finance team. The challenge is how I build on this, to respond to the needs of our clients and business. We need to bridge the conversation between business and finance and formulate strategies that will inform our client and business growth.  Finance needs to understand and appreciate that we not only contracted to support business, but also to the delivering of brilliant basics to our clients directly in ensuring the operations IT and all support function work effectively as intended, and that we hold business accountable in delivering to the client promise.” 

Read more: Sibusiso Xaba appointed as CFO of TPS at Standard Bank

CFO-Award-winning Dumisani Dlamini now CFO of SANParks

Double-CFO-Awards-winner Dumisani Dlamini has left the National Arts Council to instead take up the role as SANParks CFO, replacing Rajesh Mahabeer, who moved into a role in the private sector at Garuda Capital

CFO South Africa caught up with Dumisani to ask him about his new role at SANParks, his time at the NAC, and what it means to win two CFO Awards – Young CFO of the Year 2016 and Public Sector CFO of the Year 2016. 

Dumisani said about his new role:  

“It’s always exciting to make a contribution to South African government and SANParks provides me with a great opportunity to make a difference in the conservation and tourism industry. It is not about crunching numbers but it is about creating a real value for business. There is a great executive team, great finance team and a great environment to work.”

Read more: CFO-award-winning Dumisani Dlamini now CFO of SANParks 

Telkom: Tsholofelo Molefe replaces Deon Fredericks as Telkom CFO 

Tsholofelo Molefe was appointed as the new CFO at Telkom, replacing Deon Fredericks, who moved into the newly created role of chief investment officer as of 1 July. 

Read more: Tsholofelo Molefe replaces Deon Fredericks as Telkom CFO 

Along with his new role as Telkom CIO, Deon will be acting as the interim CFO at SAA for 12 months, which started 15 October, taking over from Robert Head

Read more: SAA recruits Telkom CIO Deon Fredericks as Interim CFO

Dean Subramanian takes over as CFO of Rand Refinery and Avinash Desmond Maharaj replaces him at ArcelorMittal 

After the resignation of CFO Awards nominee Dean Subramanian from ArcelorMittal in May, Gerhard van Zyl took over as acting CFO from 31 July until 1 October, when Avinash Desmond Maharaj was appointed as the permanent CFO. Dean has been appointed as the new CFO of Rand Refinery. 

Read more:
Dean Subramanian appointed as Rand Refinery CFO
ArcelorMittal's Dean Subramanian resigns from ArcelorMittal
Avinash Desmond Maharaj new ArcelorMittal SA CFO

Sygnia also made some changes

On 31 December, Sygnia will be bidding farewell to financial director Michael Buckham, who has resigned to focus on family and personal opportunities. 

Read more: Sygnia FD Michael Buckham resigns as of 31 December

Michael will oversee the finalisation of the year-end audit, with allowance being made for a hand-over period, during which Murad Sirkot will take over as the FD. He will be the new right-hand man of the indomitable Sygnia CEO Magda Wierzycka.

Read more: Murad Sirkot appointed as new Sygnia Group FD