Meet Osman Arbee (Imperial), winner of two awards at the CFO Awards 2016

“Sometimes you feel unloved in the accounting profession. You cover the backside of the CEO and no one says thank you. It’s nice to be acknowledged,” said Osman Arbee, CFO of Imperial Holdings, when accepting the Strategy Execution Award, presented to him by Colin Brown of Supergroup – ironically his biggest competitor (pictured).

"Prof Nkuhlu, your words were very inspiring and important. We have to ensure we as CFOs get intimately involved in strategy, because that's where it's going to go wrong. You can count all the numbers you want to, but if you're on the wrong side of strategy, you will make the wrong decisions," Osman continued. "Also, CFOs, please mentor the youngsters who are coming from university. It's up to us to mentor these youngsters; we have a responsibility. They will be our future leaders."

Watch Osman's acceptance speech on receiving the Strategy Execution Award.

Osman accepted his second award of the evening, the High Performance Team Award, from Discovery's Brett Tromp, who was last year's Young CFO of the Year.

Mentoring, giving back to society and acting as a sounding board to the CEO are high on Osman's agenda. Selling some big businesses and realignment of other businesses have been among his toughest decisions in the last two years, though this CFO is also regularly involved in acquisitions, especially on the African and European continents. From minimal profits five years ago, today 14 percent of Imperial's operating income is generated in the rest of Africa. Osman plays a big role in employee and community trusts and is proud of the integrated way in which Imperial presents its annual report.

  • 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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