CFO of the Week: Jurgens Myburgh, new CFO at Datatec: "I strive to be multidimensional"

“I strive to be a multidimensional CFO,” says Jurgens Myburgh, who recently swapped an impressive career in Corporate Finance at Standard Bank for a role as CFO at information technology group Datatec. In anticipation of learning from more experienced peers, Myburgh has joined CFO South Africa as a platinum member. “It will be great to network with like-minded people, bounce ideas off experienced individuals, gather intelligence on best practice and stay up to date. You can’t afford to operate in a silo.”

Myburgh joined Datatec in May 2014 and a month later he took over from CFO Rob Evans, who now occupies the newly created position of Group Operations Director. Evans, one of the nominees for the CFO of the Year Award in 2014, leaves big shoes to fill. But Myburgh has learned from the best, having worked with Standard Bank's CFO Simon Ridley, winner of that very same award. "This is a daunting task, but I am happy with my move."

Although Myburgh spent most of his professional career working on mergers, acquisitions and other corporate finance projects, he started out on a different path. "I did my articles with KPMG in Johannesburg and was working in their Energy and Natural Resources Group. I was involved in mining audits at a number of companies including Goldfields and the South African division of what was then Billiton. However, as soon as I had completed my training I started working at KPMG Corporate Finance, the M&A division of the firm."

Myburgh moved to Standard Bank in 2001. "I've always wanted to do corporate finance work, a combination of M&A, equity capital markets, listings, those types of things. I worked in that division for about 14 years and headed it up as well." Asked what accomplishments he is most proud of, the CFO starts to laugh. "Well, I am not going to talk about the disasters, but I have been involved in some incredible transactions and I am really proud of those."

As an example Myburgh mentions Standard Bank's BEE-transaction, which included the Tutuwa shares scheme for employees. "That was a fantastic project to be part of. Another highlight was when I lead the Standard Bank team in advising Mediclinic on the acquisition of the Swiss company Hirslanden." In 2007 the South African hospital group bought the European firm that runs 14 acute care facilities in Switzerland for a multibillion rand figure. "It was a mammoth undertaking, so it is gratifying to see the lasting impact that it has on the company, with more than 50 percent of Mediclinic's revenue and EBITDA today emanating from Switzerland. Other highlights include the listing of Pioneer Foods in 2007 and Standard Bank's expansion into Nigeria through the acquisition of a controlling interest in IBTC"

Myburgh says he was never looking for a CFO role, or for a move away from Africa's biggest bank. "I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Standard Bank, as evidenced by my tenure there. I worked with dynamic and talented people. So I wasn't looking for a change, but change came and found me. I knew Datatec because I had already worked with the company back in 2004 on a transaction that eventually didn't materialise. I had kept in reasonably close touch with [founder and CEO] Jens [Montanana] since then. I know the company from the outside and when Jens started talking to me, first informally and then more formally, I had a very interesting proposition and I was faced with a difficult decision."

With roots firmly in South Africa, Datatec is an international company with divisional headquarters based out of London and New York. It is listed in both Johannesburg and London and active in more than 60 countries, especially with subsidiary Westcon Group, a distributor of communications, network infrastructure, data center and security solutions and Logicalis, an international IT solutions and managed services provider. "It is great to work in an industry that is increasingly relevant and important," says Myburgh. "The job requires a combination of all the skills I have acquired over the years. I can now apply those skills and learn more."

Myburgh reveals he was specifically scouted as CFO because of his finance and banking background. "I'm responsible for finance, financial reporting and investor relations and also play a key role in strategy and M&A. The most important thing is that everything is focused on value creation through the application of discipline and underlying logic. I'll also look at for instance capital structure and liquidity management. Those are areas I can focus on thanks to my background and I have an existing network of experts who are able to assist where necessary."

Having worked with many CFOs during his years at Standard Bank, Myburgh has a clear appreciation of what lies ahead. "I never saw myself in a classic CFO role, but I look forward to combining financial management with strategy, corporate finance, liquidity management, risk management and assurance. I strive to be a multidimensional CFO. If you look globally, you see that CFOs need to have a 360 degree view and ensure that all aspects of the business are in line. Constantly assess all the pieces on the chess board."

Jurgens is featured as a Platinum Member of CFO South Africa, if you also would like to share your ideas with the CFO Community. Join the ultimate peer-to-peer advisory network for CFOs and boost your career, company and knowledge. Become a member now and enjoy the countless benefits you will receive.