Standard Bank Group’s Arno Daehnke named CFO of the Year 2022


On 16 November, the "Oscars of the finance profession" celebrated the winners of the 2022 CFO Awards.

Arno Daehnke, chief finance and value management officer at the Standard Bank Group, has been named South Africa’s CFO of the Year at the 2022 CFO Awards.

The CFO of the Year was announced on Wednesday 16 November at the conclusion of the annual gala event for finance executives, held at the spectacular Polo Room at the Inanda Club in Sandton, Johannesburg.

Arno was the big winner during the “Oscars of the finance profession”, which celebrated its ninth edition this year. He walked away with three of the ten prizes, including the CFO of the Year, the Strategy Execution and the Moving Into Africa Award.

Arno is the Chief Finance & Value Management officer for the Standard Bank Group (SBG), a role that was created to drive the financial and value management disciplines of strategy formulation and execution, optimised resource allocations and monetising value opportunities. This forms part of SBG's refreshed strategy to focus on value management through ecosystems and partnerships.

Arno believes that collaboration through agile and empowered teams is critical to grow and compete in the 4th industrial revolution. His leadership style is to be approachable, to be open to new ideas, to be supportive and empathetic, and to bring the best out in everyone.

The Young CFO of the Year title was awarded to Mpolaheng Mohlopi, the CFO of Lanseria International Airport. For the past three years, Mpolaheng has been focusing on helping Lanseria international airport and its employees survive the impact of Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent travel restrictions. As the CFO, she is also responsible for crafting and implementing the airport’s BEE strategy resulting in a significant improvement in the BBEE compliance level. A risk champion at heart, she has identified gaps in the company’s risk strategy, and implemented policies to fill those gaps. As part of the company’s digital transformation strategy, she has also overseen the move from a manual cash book to an automated process.

Full list of CFO Awards 2022 winners:

  • CFO of the Year – Arno Daehnke, chief finance and value management officer, Standard Bank Group
  • Young CFO of the Year – Mpolaheng Mohlopi, CFO, Lanseria International Airport
  • Strategy Execution Award – Arno Daehnke
  • Transformation & Empowerment Award – Dirk Viljoen, CFO, Hollard Group
  • High-Performance Team Award – Deon Smith, FD, Thungela
  • Compliance & Governance Award – Deepa Sita, Group CFO, Tiger Brands
  • Finance Transformation Award – Risto Ketola, Group FD, Momentum Metropolitan Holdings
  • Moving into Africa Award – Arno Daehnke
  • Finance & Technology Award – Deepa Sita

The annual CFO Awards are organised by CFO South Africa, the organisation that connects finance professionals through executive events, CFO Magazine, and social media channels. By helping CFOs share knowledge, exchange interests and open up business opportunities, CFO South Africa proudly contributes to the growth of the country.
Services firm Deloitte was the Principal Partner of the 2022 CFO Awards, while other awards sponsors included Coupa, Standard Bank, TreasuryONE and Workday. Associate sponsors of the evening included ACCA, Cushman and Wakefield | Broll, Ince, Kyriba, SoluGrowth, Thungela and Transparent.

The CFO of the Year Award was handed out by Deloitte Africa CEO Ruwayda Redfearn. The Public Sector CFO of the Year was handed out by Eric Tshabalala, head of audit, Deloitte Africa. The Young CFO of the Year was handed out by Hennie de Klerk, CEO, TreasuryONE. The Transformation & Empowerment Award was handed out by Nina Le Riche, chief growth officer, Deloitte Africa. The Finance & Technology Award was handed out by Ziaad Suleman, chief commercial, EOH. The Strategy Execution Award was handed out by Kirenga Rwigema, head of customer strategy and value, Workday. The Compliance & Governance Award was handed out by Bongi Ngoma, national head of audit at the AGSA, 2021's CFO of the Year, and member of the CFO Awards Judging Panel. The Moving Into Africa Award was handed out by Karen Van Der Westhuizen, head of consumer South Africa Client Coverage at Standard Bank. The Finance Transformation Award was handed out by David Hamilton, regional director at Coupa Software. The High-Performance Team Award was handed out by Christine Ramon, 2018 CFO of the Year and CFO Awards judge.

Further information on the other award winners:

Transformation & Empowerment Award – Dirk Viljoen (Hollard Group)
Dirk is proud of the way he has steered Hollard through multiple crises that have resulted in billions of rands of insurance claims, by managing liquidity, solvency and playing a leading role in refreshing the company’s strategy and targets. He is passionate about transformation and inclusion, boasting a top transformed and high-performance team in the group, and advocates for good through Hollard’s various shared-value initiatives, like Lumkani and Highway Heros. Dirk also chairs and is responsible for leading finance’s participation in growing the Hollard business across Africa.

High-Performance Team Award – Deon Smith (Thungela)
Deon’s proudest achievement is completing the demerger and listing of Thungela on the JSE and LSE on an accelerated timeline. The demerger has meant that Deon had to go from a manager of people to a coach for people recognizing the broadened portfolio of critical functions required to operate as a standalone business. He is responsible for the company’s strategy and business development functions and looks for talent to match new opportunities across the business. He has created a number of new functions in an equally short amount of time, including investor relations, legal, IT, tax and treasury.

Compliance & Governance Award – Deepa Sita (Tiger Brands)
Deepa is proud of the Every Tiger Counts programme, which holds everyone at Tiger Brands accountable for cost management and value creation. This has helped to identify a pipeline of R480 million cost-saving opportunities. Through a focus on employment equity and preferential procurement (among others), the organisation has gone from Level 7 B-BBEE to Level 2 in just three years. Deepa has led investigations into procurement irregularities, and introduced initiatives to help prevent ethics breaches. She is also at the forefront of implementing leading revenue growth management initiatives, data analytics, IoT and automation technologies in the organisation.

Finance Transformation Award – Risto Ketola (Momentum Metropolitan Holdings)
Risto is proud of ensuring the capital efficiency of Momentum Metropolitan Holdings, especially during Covid-19. He has helped the company become the first large insurer at level 1 B-BBEE status and has sustained this status for the past three years. A self-explained authentic leader, he gets the best out of his team by knowing them well, and through this has set a culture of people consulting him if they see unethical behaviour. He has also driven the adoption of cloud and robotics to help with operational risk management and financial market risk hedging.

“Not only are CFO Awards the highlight of the finance profession’s calendar every year, but they are a true test of leadership,” says CFO South Africa executive community manager Georgina Guedes. “Every year, South Africa’s leading finance professionals are assessed based on their performance and contribution to shaping their organisations. Congratulations to the nominees and to the winners for their outstanding achievements.”

The Awards are judged by an esteemed panel of industry leaders and finance experts:

Aarti Takoordeen
CFO, AECI. Young CFO of the Year 2014

Ben Marx
Chairman of the Department of Accountancy, University of Johannesburg

Bongi Ngoma
National Head of Audit, AGSA. CFO of the Year 2021

Christine Ramon
Ex-CFO, AngloGold Ashanti. CFO of the Year 2018

Christo Els
Senior Partner, Webber Wentzel

Claudelle von Eck
Founder, Brave Inflexions. Ex-CEO, The Institute of Internal Auditors South Africa

Herman Bosman
CEO, RMB Holdings and RMI Holdings

Kevin Black
Audit Partner, Deloitte Africa

Leon Crouse
Former CFO, Remgro and Vodacom. Winner CFO Lifetime Achievement Award 2016

Pat Semenya

Ramasela Ganda
CEO, Avis Rent A Car Southern Africa. Public Sector CFO of the Year 2017

Victor Sekese
CEO, SNG Grant Thornton

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