Former Standard Bank CFO Simon Ridley won the CFO of the Year Award at the 2014 CFO Awards.
Simon Ridley, at the time chief financial officer of Standard Bank, was announced as South Africa’s CFO of the Year at inaugural CFO Awards on 15 May 2014 at Summer Place in Hyde Park, Johannesburg.
In a post-awards interview, Simon said that he tried to be an “absolute partner” to his CEO without “usurping responsibilities”.
“Helping the CEO of a business to understand the problem is crucial. You can't just throw stones at the problem. You need to use common sense. Be a trusted advisor, rather than just a critic.”
Simon was also awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2016 CFO Awards and gave a keynote speech at the 2015 CFO Awards. He has also been on the panel of judges since 2017.
Prior to his time at Standard Bank, Simon was CFO at Absa from 1989 until 1999. He joined Standard Bank as director of finance and operations, before taking on the CFO role.
He retired from Standard Bank in April 2016 when he was 60 years old, but remains a non-executive director.
He had this advice for aspirant CFOs:
“I always tell our youngsters ‘Be honest with yourself about what you like and what you don't like to do. Otherwise there will be issues later’. The people that get to the position of CFO quickest are the most curious people. Never being satisfied with one answer and an irritating sense of curiosity are great assets for a finance leader. It is also important to work for someone who adds value to you. Don't make a career jump for money if you don't respect your prospective boss.”