Jowayne van Wyk plans to tackle the challenges of Covid-19 as AEEI's new CFO

Jowayne believes using empathy economics during this time will deliver better results.

On 1 August, Jowayne van Wyk’s appointment as African Equity Empowerment Investments (AEEI) CFO came into effect. He took over from exiting CFO, Chantelle Ah Singh, who has chosen to pursue her higher education and other personal interests. 

Read more: AEEI has appointed Jowayne van Wyk as its new CFO

Jowayne describes this opportunity as a privilege, saying that while it is great to be part of AEEI’s team, it is also a huge responsibility that he believes he is ready to take on. “Having been a non-independent board director and audit chairman prior to this appointment has helped me to transition into the CFO role and has provided me with exceptional insight.” 

He explains that, from his early childhood and as a young CA, he dreamt of assuming a role like this. “To have this lifelong wish become a reality is fulfilling – it’s also not bad for a ‘Karoo Platteland boy’!”

He believes that stepping into the CFO position also demonstrates to young people from smaller, remote towns like his hometown, Sutherland, that anything is possible if you work hard and persevere.

Tackling challenges

“As exciting as this next stage of my career may undoubtedly be, I am also not kidding myself as to the challenge this economic era holds for us,” Jowayne says. 

As he steps into the role, he will be focusing on delivering AEEI’s 31 August 2020 year-end results. He will also ensure the group’s cash flow keeps surviving the Covid-19 economic impact by tightening the company’s expenditure in the low GDP growth market. 

In addition to his responsibilities within the organisation, he will also be supporting and assisting AEEI’s subsidiaries in sectors that have been severely impacted by lockdown to make sure they survive the pandemic. 

Jowayne explains that stepping into the role in these unprecedented times of the pandemic has made the CFO role even more important for him. “The balance between profit and lives is such a difficult decision for anyone to make under normal circumstances. Under Covid-19 it becomes even more onerous” he says. “I am patently aware of this and so is our entire management team.” 

However, he adds that the AEEI team is “solid” with a visionary CEO and says they are confident that they have what it takes to continue creating shareholder value.

“I think using empathy economics during this time is not only just, but will ultimately deliver better results all around,” he says. 

He believes that his experience as a rugby player has laid the base for the role. “As with rugby injuries that threatened my career years ago, I see Covid-19 as a hurdle to overcome and persevere patiently,” he says. “If we keep the fighting spirit we will come through the current crisis as a business and as a country.”

New opportunities

Jowayne says that, with a strong balance sheet, AEEI is looking to increase its shareholder value through possible acquisitions. “Covid-19 created opportunities to look at our responsibility to contribute and care for the communities we operate in,” he explains. “We will be looking to amplify those efforts now and build even stronger relationships with our stakeholders.” 

He adds that, because of Covid-19, AEEI can remodel its business to be flexible and through its subsidiaries, increase its growth trajectory into the Africa ICT market. “AEEI has substantial underlying investments in the ICT sector, and with the exponential growth we have seen in remote working, we will be looking to further augment this portfolio to gain further market share.”