Meet Reeza Isaacs (Woolworths), CFO of the Year 2016

“Setting a target, being clear about it and measuring it is key to success,” says Reeza Isaacs, group finance director of retailer Woolworths Holdings, and winner of this year’s CFO of the Year Award. The Award was presented at the spectacular CFO Awards 2016 ceremony, held on 12 May at Summer Place, and attended by over 250 elegantly dressed and excited guests.

Reeza received the best scores from a pool of 25 nominated CFOs, all of whom were extensively interviewed by the judging panel as part of the awards process. Unfortunately, Reeza was in Australia for board meetings and was unable to receive the award himself, which was accepted on his behalf by Zaid Manjra, group head of planning & reporting at Woolworths. In accepting the award for Reeza Zaid said it was "completely and utterly deserved", and joked that he would very much like to be Reeza right now.

The Woolworths CFO himself heard the news immediately from Zaid and from his wife and responded swiftly in an sms to CFO South Africa MD Gram Fehrsen:

"I really appreciate the nomination and am honoured and humbled by the award."

After a long career at EY in the Western Cape, Reeza joined Woolworths in June 2013 as deputy chief financial officer. He was appointed group finance director in November 2013. During his tenure he has successfully changed the mindset of the finance team to move from a focus on the income statement to a focus on the balance sheet and return on capital. Reeza says that his finance teams, across the geographies, are highly integrated and a key partner to the business. The changes Reeza implemented to his team were crucial after the acquisition of Australian retailer David Jones and the minority interest in Country Road; two corporate actions that changed the group and involved several tough decisions. Passionate about transformation and empowerment, Reeza also spearheads the efforts of his team and Woolworths' focus on sustainability.

  • Next year's CFO Awards will take place on 11 May 2017, once again at Summer Place in Johannesburg. If you would like to buy a table, join the panel of judges or become a partner, visit CFOawards.co.za. Attendance is free for members.
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