EOH CFO Megan Pydigadu: Evil prevails when good men do nothing

Megan Pydigadu encourages South Africa to make a change at EOH's Courageous Leadership Conference.

EOH CFO Megan Pydigadu addressed the challenges South Africa is experiencing in her speech at the inaugural Courageous Leadership 2019, where leading with courage and purpose-led brands were the topics of focus presented to the EOH staff. 

“We are in a crisis in the way we treat our fellow human beings manifested through femicide and xenophobia,” Megan said. “This is not Ubuntu. We have lost our way as a society and a country.” 

She also addressed the crossroads our world finds itself at, “where capitalism is failing and the gap between the haves and the have-nots is increasing”. 

Megan then encouraged the crowd to find a new way forward, “where we understand who our stakeholders are – not just our shareholders, but our staff, clients, government, communities and society”. 

“For us to succeed as a country we need to all work together so that we can create a country that we want to leave behind for our children.”

Megan was followed by a panel discussion that featured professor of law and former Public Protector of South Africa Thuli Mandonsela, political analyst, lecturer and writer Eusebius McKaiser, EOH CEO Stephen van Coller and Kantar chief growth officer of Africa Middle East Karin du Chenne, facilitated by award-winning journalist Iman Rappetti, about how to lead courageously in South Africa. 

Here is the full transcript of Megan’s speech: 

Good morning, I’d like to thank and warmly welcome our esteemed speakers, valued clients and every member of the EOH team that has taken the time to join us for this important dialogue.

This engagement comes at a critical time given the current challenges South Africa is experiencing.

We are in a crisis in the way we treat our fellow human beings manifested through femicide and xenophobia. This is not Ubuntu. We have lost our way as a society and a country.

The world is also at a crossroads where capitalism is failing and the gap between the haves and the have nots is increasing.

We are all acutely aware that unemployment levels in South Africa are untenable and while we should be focused on creating jobs in this increasingly tough economic environment we are repeatedly seeing headlines alleging extensive corruption across both business and government. 

Evil prevails when good men do nothing. 

We need to find a new way forward where we understand who our stakeholders are – not just our shareholders but our staff, clients, govt, communities and society.

For us to succeed as a country we need to all work together so that we can create a country that we want to leave behind for our children.

As EOH we are now starting to raise our heads from what has been an incredibly challenging period and we feel it is crucial to openly talk about our journey, share the lessons we have learnt, and are still learning, in our drive to build the EOH of the future, an organization that ultimately will be able to proudly be a force for good in South Africa.

It’s so great to see the significant EOH representation in this room because you are all examples of courageous leadership, your contribution to the EOH journey is invaluable.

We have all first hand felt the effects of the unethical business practices which almost brought EOH to its knees but as a collective we have changed our course and the Future EOH is fast becoming a reality. We are winning in the fight to defend 11 000 jobs against the unethical actions of a few.

The courage demonstrated in this room and the ability to embrace change is the force that is fast driving us to being able to establish an organization that is purpose-led, accountable and authentic – a future-proofed EOH and a force for good in society.

In order to bring about deep change within EOH it is a time for deep reflection and introspection. To be a purpose lead organisation that is deeply authentic requires us to have values that we feel deeply and live daily. Values cannot be aspirational they need to be a fabric of the organisation and show through in everything that we do.

It starts with us 

  • How we behave and show up
  • What values we hold close to our hearts
  • And where there is a deep care for one another and the upliftment of others

As we rebuild our reputation and strengthen our brand, we have the opportunity to shift perceptions in a positive way and significantly contribute to the appeal for courageous Leadership from every corner of South Africa.

We are all on this journey and today’s discussions bring together thinkers, activists, leaders and global stories of purpose-led brands that will help ignite our critical conversations around courageous Leadership.

In closing I will conclude with the following quote

If not now then when?

If not you then who?

Thank you again for joining us and thank you for all that you are doing to help build our courageous future together.