Meet Walter Leonhardt (ABI), winner of two awards at the CFO Awards 2016

“Yeehaw!” said a clearly elated Walter Leonhardt, financial director of ABI, when accepting the Compliance & Governance Award from SizweNtsalubaGobodo CEO, Victor Sekese. Becoming serious again, Walter continued: “Thank you very much for the recognition. The words Prof Nkuhlu said earlier about how seriously we all need to take governance and compliance got me thinking. I work for an organisation where fast and furious is sometimes quite sexy. There’s lots of things happening all the time and we take compliance and governance seriously. I thank you very much for this recognition.”

Watch a video a Walter's acceptance speech on winning the Compliance and Governance Award.

Walter was back on stage later in the evening to receive his second award, this time around for Finance Transformation, presented by Thomson Reuters Africa CFO Sharon Horsten.

On accepting this second award Walter said:

"I have to give credit to an absolutely awesome finance team in ABI. There are two thoughts that come up when I think about the journey we've gone through: engagement and continuous improvement. We can't do something if we don't take our employees along with us. And we've never arrived. There is always a better tomorrow."

With "collaboration and alignment" as the recipe for success, and a "calm, caring and predictable" leadership approach, Walter has successfully embedded a "continuous improvement mind-set" within his finance team. Among his toughest decisions were protecting SAB shareholder value in tough economic and competitive times and retrenching people, despite contrary expectations. The results have been very good, with impressive volume growth, and the cost of finance halved through successful centralisation, with improved customer service and collections as evidence.

Watch a video of Walter's acceptance speech on winning the Finance and Transformation Award.

  • 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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