Flashback: These leading finance executives won the coveted trophies at the CFO Awards

Six of South Africa's finest finance professionals walked away with awards on the evening of 15 May.

On 15 May 2019 at the Dimension Data Oval the CFO Awards, known widely as the “Oscars of the finance profession”, recognised six CFOs for their outstanding work in finance. 

This year’s theme was “adapt or die”, reflecting the often-complex environment that CFOs navigate in their everyday reporting and implementation role in organisations, and the need to evolve in their roles or lose relevance. 

CFOs were entertained by astral photographer Cory Schmitz, who said “you are all stars” and prominent comedian Nik Rabinowitz. “Last year’s CFO awards theme was ‘do the right thing’. I think these themes are built on movie themes. In 2025, the theme will be ‘Robot CFOs: Make sure they don’t kill you,” Nik said as he set the tone for the evening.

While he wasn’t able to attend the event, MTN CFO Ralph Mupita was awarded with the CFO of the Year award, joining previous CFO of the Year winners – Simon Ridley, who won in 2014 as Standard Bank FD, Discovery CFO Deon Viljoen who won in 2015 when he was at Alexander Forbes, 2017 winner Till Streichert from Vodacom and AngloGold Ashanti’s Christine Ramon, who won in 2018 – who also attended the event. 

The award, which was received by Sugentharen Perumal, who was recently appointed as MTN South Africa’s acting CFO, on behalf of Ralph, was sponsored by Deloitte and handed over by Deloitte Africa deputy CEO Sihlalo Jordan

Ralph also took home the Strategy Execution Award, announced by John van Tubberg, head of Client Coverage at RMB, the High-Performance Team Award, announced by Regard Budler, client solutions executive at Momentum Corporate, and the Finance Transformation Award, announced by Oupa Mbokodo, head of Advisory at SNG Grant Thornton

In an acceptance speech recorded in the case he won, Ralph thanked his finance and group executive team at MTN. "This award is for the men and women of MTN who are making a fantastic contribution to the company," said Ralph, who described his team as dedicated and diligent, and thankful the team at CFO South Africa as well.   

André Du Plessis, CFO of Capitec, walked away with the Compliance & Governance Award, handed to him by PwC Africa partner Shirley Machaba, as well as the Finance & Technology Award, announced by Oracle South Africa MD Niral Patel. “The Capitec journey has been difficult but successful. We are told by investors that we need to relax now that we have many banking clients. However, we need to work harder and smarter every day to maintain and build the business to the next level. To transform the country, we need to work together to create jobs and inclusion. That's part of my job every day. We need to build the corporate governance that we had before state capture and governance issues. We always keep each other accountable,” he said. 

The Moving Into Africa Award was scooped by Standard Bank FD Arno Daehnke. The award was handed to him by Standard Bank (who also sponsored the award) CFO of Client Coverage Isaac Malevu. “This year I will be visiting 20 Africa regions. For me, it is energizing to see what is happening north of Limpopo and the innovation we are seeing in the content. We are excited about this at Standard Bank,” he said. 

The Transformation & Empowerment Award went to Afrocentric group CFO Hannes Boonzaaier. In his speech, Hannes said he has faced peaks and troughs in his career. “I've been through the highs and lows of performing due diligence, closing companies, winning and losing contracts, dealing with customers and their unreasonable demands. It wouldn't be possible without my team that has supported me and AfroCentric that has allowed me to go to different countries,” he said. 

City of Tshwane CFO Umar Banda won the Young CFO of the Year Award. The Award was handed to him by Workday regional MD Zuko Mdwaba. Umar said it's important for young people to be an opportunity to lead and demonstrate their skills in the finance industry. “A lot of CFOs and senior executives are close to retirement. When I started at the City of Tshwane, I never thought I'd be the CFO. But it was with the support of my team that I grew in my profession. This country needs young people to provide ethical leadership to get the country out of the mess,” he said. 

Nonkululeko Dlamini, the CFO of the Industrial Development Corporation was awarded the Public Sector CFO of the Year Award. She was also not in attendance but her colleague at the IDC accepted the award on behalf of Thiru Pillay, consulting leader of Deloitte Africa.

The other nominees were: 

  • AECI CFO Mark Kathan
  • Nampak CFO Glenn Fullerton
  • RH Bophelo CFO Dion Mhlaba 
  • University of Johannesburg CFO Nolwazi Mamorare
  • Matthias Vogt, who was the CFO of Afrox at the time
  • Bridget Radebe, who was the CFO of African Rainbow Capital at the time
  • Phembani Group CFO Sizwe Nkosi
  • Absa group FD Jason Quinn
  • Hulisani CFO Masibulele Dem
  • Santam CFO Hennie Nel
  • Kumba Iron Ore CFO Bothwell Mazarura
  • Nakedi Ramaphakela, who was the CFO of Royal Bafokeng Holdings at the time

The awards wouldn’t have been possible without principal sponsor Deloitte, awards sponsors Momentum, PwC, Oracle, RMB, Standard Bank, SNG Grant Thornton and Workday, and associate partners Drayton Glendower & Mokhobo, KPMG, Kumba Iron Orem MTN and Phembani Group.