Five Young CFO of the Year Award winners: Where are they now?

Recipients of the Young CFO Award reflect on their career progression since receiving the accolade.

Over the past five years, the Young CFO of the Year Award has been handed to CFOs who have shown remarkable professional development. 

Aged up to and including 40, these CFOs have moved up through the ranks of business, and the awards recognise them for their leadership, work ethics and for taking responsibility at moments of truth. 

These Young CFO of the Year Award winners, starting with the inaugural 2014 CFO Awards until the 2018 CFO Awards, reflect on the time passed since receiving the award. 

 

2014 Young CFO of the Year: Aarti Takoordeen, CFO of the JSE 

Aarti continues to drive innovation within the JSE. At the time of her appointment she was the youngest CFO of a JSE-listed company. She said: 

“In the end innovation just means improving, leaving things better than you found them. The CFO role brings a lot of opportunity, because we are uniquely positioned by having access to all the touch points within the business.” 

She believes that being an ambassador for the business is an important aspect of the role of CFO. In 2017, Aarti was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in recognition of her distinguished leadership. Aarti also serves on the CFO Awards judging panel, continuing the tradition of leadership for future young CFOs. 

Read more: The modern CFO: Watch the JSE’s Aarti Takoordeen at #Findaba16 

 

2015 Young CFO of the Year: Brett Tromp, CFO of Discovery Health 

Brett still serves as the CFO of Discovery Health, and he says that the award is a stamp of approval by the South Arican business community showing that the recipient has achieved something in their career. “That is an honour and privilege and I have tried to use the recognition wisely.” 

He also walked away with the High Performance Team Award.

Brett noted that in the first year he was nominated for the award, he didn’t win, but going through the process made him reflect on his skills and career progress. 

“It pushed me to grow and fill these gaps. This paid off when I won the following year.” 

On the career front, Brett says the award has helped springboard his career. “It has opened doors to share and speak on the international level and my role enlarged to head up a number of our healthcare subsidiary companies,” Brett said.

“But most important to me is the award on my CV brings credibility and accountability and opens doors for me to be a force for social good. It has helped me raise funds to help my charity educating pre-schoolers who would never get an education due to financial barriers.” 

Brett quoted Tim Keller, saying that it sums up how he wants his award to keep helping him to do good in his country and city. “We say we love our city, but we actually only love our experience of our city. To truly love the city means to make the city a good place for everyone to live. That’s my continued wish, that the award will continue to help me do this,” Brett concluded.

Read more: Meet Brett Tromp (Discovery Health), double CFO Award winner 2015

 

2016 Young CFO of the Year: Dumisani Dlamini, CFO of National Arts Council at the time, now CFO of South African National Parks

2016 winner Dumisani Dlamini also walked away with the Public Sector CFO of the Year Award. 

Upon receiving the award, Dumisani said: 

“This is to say to every black child, girl or boy, you can make it! This goes to all CFOs in government who are under political pressure or who are in a difficult environment – this is for you!"

Reflecting back he says: 

“Winning two awards in 2016 marked a critical milestone in my career. It’s opened doors to many opportunities, including serving on boards, audit and risk committees.”

Speaking about his new job at SANParks, Dumisani says:

“It’s such a privilege to service in an institution with so many complexity given the fact that it’s responsible for both nature conservation and tourism business.”

He has also had an opportunity to speak on various platforms around the country and write articles for various magazines. He was appointed as one of the judges for the CFO Case Study Competition in 2018, which challenges university students around the world and school pupils around the continent to prove they can compete at the highest level. 

“I’m privileged to make a contribution to the finance industry as well as public sector. I have since qualified as a Chartered Director with the Institute of Directors in South Africa,” he said.

Read more: Meet Dumisani Dlamini (NAC), Young CFO of the Year 2016 

 

2017 Young CFO of the Year: Nishant Saxena, then Cipla South Africa CFO, now Cipla global chief strategy officer

2017 winner Nishant Saxena has moved back to the India headquarters of Cipla into a larger role as the global chief strategy officer of the group company. 

He said that winning the award was a great reinforcement of everything that he stood for: growth and business partner mindset, accountability of no-excuse results, benchmarking with best in class, and building an organisation that can outlast him.

“Within South Africa, the best part was that we could promote my deputy to succeed me as the CFO of Africa!,” he says. 

“My family and I do miss Cape Town.” 

Read more: Meet Nishant Saxena (Cipla), winner of two awards at the CFO Awards 2017, including Young CFO of the Year

 

2018 Young CFO of the Year: Rui Morais, Group CFO, DisChem 

2018 winner Rui Morais continues to play the role of Group CFO of DisChem “in an ever changing, demanding governance world”. 

That being said, Rui reflects on how much the role has changed:

“The role has now evolved to be weighted to an operational role. I am very involved strategically and, as a result, am much more involved in the commercial aspects of the main commercial trading categories of the business.”

Aligned with what differentiates DisChem, Rui overseas commercial functions related to improved vendor profitability that includes health, FMCG, beauty and most importantly pharmacy.

The transition into a more detailed commercial role is one that Rui is really enjoying, saying it comes with a whole new set of challenges.

Read more: DisChem’s Rui Morais: I am my own harshest critic

 

Find out who will walk away with the next Young CFO of the Year Award at the 2019 CFO Awards.