I am not telling any secrets when I say that Colin Brown was one of the hot favourites for the CFO of the Year Award 2015. After scooping up two major awards during the first CFO Awards in 2014 - Strategy Execution and Digital Transformation - the Super Group story had only gotten better and Brown is considered one of the key engineers of the remarkable turnaround and renewed ascend of the South African firm. However, the panel of judges felt that Deon Viljoen's remarkable work at Alexander Forbes deserved the recognition and Brown was pipped to the post.
That didn't mean that Brown came home with empty hands, winning the Finance & Technology Award, no surprise for an executive who has repeatedly stated that CFOs who don't understand technology are "at risk". Brown himself can program and has deep insight in the workings of computers, his hand-crafted digital tools have been part of the secret behind Super Group's successful resurgence.
"I'm surprised and happy," Brown said when he received the award. "I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the blood, sweat and tears of my colleagues at Super Group. IT is a big part of my life." In the awards booklet the panel of judges summarised his - confidential - interview as follows:
Taking Super Group from a market cap of R400 million to a market cap of R12 billion in 5 years, Colin Brown has helped set the ship on a new course- from a turnaround to a growth path. After he created a nifty Treasury system with his IT skills, Brown went on to streamline processes and bring reporting times back drastically. The CFO recently advised against an acquisition that the CEO had set his sights on, a position he based on the negative outcome of a 5 year forecast system he has created. Brown's recipe for success is his "ability to work with people, keeping them motivated and honest".
Kholiwe Makhohliso, Sales Director at Oracle hands out the Finance & Technology Award to Colin Brown during the CFO Awards 2015.
This article is part of a series of profiles of 2015 CFO Award winners. Previously, we portrayed CFO of the Year Deon Viljoen (Alexander Forbes), double-award winners Anoj Singh (Transnet), Brett Tromp (Discovery Health) and laureates Bongani Nqwababa (Sasol), Cobus Grove (Digicore), Greg Davis (Standard Bank) and Imraan Soomra (Oceana).
- Super Group CFO Colin Brown was one of the winners at the CFO Awards 2015. Next year's CFO Awards will take place on 12 May 2016, once again at the Summer Place in Johannesburg. If you would like to buy a table, join the panel of judges or become a partner you can email Jurrien Morsch. Attendance is free for members. Visit CFOawards.co.za.
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