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London and Brussels build FinTech bridge

While other major European capitals play to Brexit fears in a bid to steal the UK's leading FinTech hub status, Belgium is taking a different approach by seeking to build a mutually supportive bridge between startups across both jurisdictions. A delegation led by Belgian finance minister Johan van Overtveldt recently crossed the channel to initiate talks with UK FinTech agency Innovate Finance on the establishment of a collaboration between the two communities and to announce the launch of a new Brussels-based hub to support financial technology startups.

5 things you didn't know about accounting

Contrary to popular belief, accounting is a profession with a rich history and yes, even a modicum of cool. Here are a few facts about accounting that you may not have known. Use them to feel reinvigorated or better about your career, or an even as an icebreaker. Please do send us a thank you note when they turn out to be handy in the final round of a game show or pub quiz.

State airline merger to cost government R12 million in fees

According to Lynne Brown (pictured), Public Enterprises Minister, government will need to shell out R12.1 million if it wishes to utilise the services of Boston-based consultancy firm Bain and Company to manage the merger of South Africa’s three state airlines – SAA, SA Express and Mango.

Expanded CFO Summits meet demand for learning

The role of the CFO is shifting beyond the traditional set of responsibilities. More and more financial executives are talking about the growing pressure on them to have a handle on a range of issues, from technology to people and strategy. This accelerating demand on finance professionals of all levels to evolve and add more value to their organisations is coupled with a rapidly increasing demand for quality peer-to-peer learning and networking opportunities. CFO South Africa is in intent on meeting this demand through events, dinners and print and online content. One of these events is the CFO Summit, which brings together leading minds to interrogate pertinent topics and has been expanded to encompass three learning tracks this year. We spoke to CFO South Africa MD Graham Fehrsen to find out more about the Summits.

Blockchain will surprise you: WATCH BankyMoon CEO Lorien Gamaroff at #afta16 #findaba16

"There is a lot of hyperbole about blockchain right now: blockchain will change everything and become the beating heart of finance. Finance is a big thing for blockchain. Banks have a lot of interest in the potential for cross-border remittances, for instance. There are many other applications. Blockchain can replace letters of credit and be used for smart contracts. I think it is going to create new business models and surprise us," says BankyMoon CEO Lorien Gamaroff.

Les Wood named interim CFO of Tullow Oil

Les Wood (pictured), currently VP of finance and commercial, has been appointed Tullow Oil’s interim CFO while Ian Springett, the actual finance head, is off on an extended leave of absence for medical treatment.

Predictions 2017: What will shake up the world this year?

“As we approach the 10th anniversary of the beginning of the financial crisis, the banking sector remains out of kilter,” writes Peter Thal Larsen (pictured), Global Economics Editor, Reuters Breakingviews, in the introduction of this year’s Predictions 2017 e-book. Every year, Reuters publishes a series of predictions through its Breakingviews team. This year’s book is out, and boy is it a captivating read. What follows is an excerpt from Peter’s Introduction to the book.

5 CFOs who grew up poor

The country's CFOs have the financial firepower to enjoy a luxurious lifestyle, but for many, the life they now lead in the upper echelons of business is a world away from the circumstances they found themselves in growing up, dreaming of a better life. Here are five CFOs who overcame the odds to beat poverty and join an elite club of financial executives:

Thomson Reuters joins CFO Awards as sponsor

Multinational mass media and information firm Thomson Reuters is sponsoring the award for Finance Transformation at the CFO Awards 2017. In 2016, the accolade was scooped by ABI Finance Director Walter Leonhardt. The annual 'Oscars for South African CFOs', to be held on 11 May, recognises CFOs of listed companies, large corporations, state-owned entities and government institutions, and awards them for outstanding performance and leadership.

McDonald's sells controlling stake in China ops for $1.7 billion

McDonald’s has agreed to sell a controlling stake in its China and Hong Kong operations for a staggering $1.7 billion. According to a statement, the investors, Chinese state-backed conglomerate Citic, Citic Capital Holdings and US private-equity firm Carlyle Group LP will acquire an 80% holding in the deal. Under the agreement, Citic and Citic Capital Partners will jointly take a 52% stake, while Carlyle will hold 28%. Oak Brook, Illinois-based McDonald’s, will hold onto the remaining stake.

OPIC pledges $5 million towards emerging market investments

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the US Government’s Development Finance Institution has announced the financing of up to $5 million to support Unreasonable Capital Fund I. Unreasonable Capital is a venture capital firm that invests in scalable and profitable companies working to address social and environmental issues that improve the lives of people living in underserved communities across Latin America, India, Asia and Africa.

Les Wood named interim CFO of Tullow Oil

Les Wood (pictured), currently VP of finance and commercial, has been appointed Tullow Oil’s interim CFO while Ian Springett, the actual finance head, is off on an extended leave of absence for medical treatment.

ACCA outlines success principles for 2017

The Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA), a partner of Finance Indaba Africa 2017, has published a checklist to tackle the political uncertainties of 2017, including Brexit negotiations.

Futurist Craig Wing: Forces to watch out for in 2017

With the festivities of the new year now passed, we tend to reflect on the madness that was 2016. Undoubtedly, globally we will remember BREXIT and the election of President Trump as arguably two of the most “shocking” global events; events which left many of the “experts” reeling after their failed predictions. Herein lies my predicament of writing this piece on the future of 2017: predictions, much like soothsaying, are never an accurate science. Rather, guesstimates of what will come by looking at the underlying cause versus – what has become – a very sexy view of trends. The future is a matter of choice, not a matter of chance. As such, what follows isn’t a set of predictions but what I expect will be three of the prevailing underlying forces; some may be seen and apparent, some will be unseen, with the “so what” repercussions felt way beyond 2017.

Sasol pulls out of Chevron assets sale

Oil refiner and marketer of petroleum products Chevron has said its process of disposing of its SA assets is ongoing, with Sasol having abandoned its earlier bid to purchase. Reasons for Sasol’s decision to pull out have not been given.

New shareholder for budget airline Fastjet

South African carrier Solenta has become a 28% shareholder in African budget airline Fastjet. In addition, some $28.8 million has been raised through a share placement. Fastjet has said it will buy a special purpose vehicle (SPV) held within the Solenta group by issuing nearly 95.6 million shares.

5 signs that you are CFO material

There is only one CFO position in a company and as such, it is a coveted spot, with many financial executives vying to make the shortlist. How do you know if you are CFO material and if there is anything that will stand against you when it comes to the final reckoning? Here are five sure-fire signs that you can do the business.

Nigeria set to become FinTech hub

Nigeria’s FinTech space is growing from strength to strength and the West African nation is well on its way to becoming a hub on the continent, if developments over the past few years are anything to go by.

Edcon now under creditors' ownership

South Africa’s largest clothing retailer, Edcon, had a tumultuous 2016, narrowly avoiding business rescue. In a bid to save itself, it launched a compromise sanction process for the proposed restructuring of the group, approaching senior lenders with the offer of a shareholding in the company in exchange for a reduction in the debt owed to them.

Cybercriminals take aim at Africa

Check Point has revealed that five African nations were among the top 10 most-attacked countries in November as cybercriminals made increasing use of ransomware attacks using the Locky and Cryptowall viruses.

Age of radical uncertainty: WATCH business expert Terry Moore at #findaba16

Business expert Terry Moore examined the historical basis for what he called "an age of radical uncertainty" and provided advice for attendees on surviving a rapidly changing environment and disruption during a presentation at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016. While bemoaning the fact that risk had been passed onto employees, he also presented opportunities for financial executives and businesses in the seeming chaos.

Glaxo and Aspen end collaboration at cost of R761 million

Pharmaceutical companies Aspen Pharmacare, Aspen Global's local arm, and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) have ended their sub-Saharan collaboration, at a cost of R761.07 million. GSK will also be disposing of its shares in Aspen, worth some R8.47 billion.

How CIMA supports success

The world’s leading and largest professional body of management accountants, the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) is a partner at the Finance Indaba 2017. CIMA's qualifications comprise a unique blend of management accounting, financial accounting and business-focused subjects to produce graduates capable of leading from the front. The local chapter is headed by Zahra Cassim (pictured). We asked the organisation about its alternative qualifications and undergraduate support initiatives.

City of Tshwane's Umar Banda nominated for CFO Awards

Acting CFO for the Tshwane Metro Umar Banda has been nominated for the 2017 CFO Awards. The annual 'Oscars for South African CFOs', to be held on 11 May, recognises CFOs of listed companies, large corporations, state-owned entities and government institutions and awards them for outstanding performance and leadership.

Cape Town top city for FDI

According to Foreign Direct Investment (fDi) Intelligence, a division of the Financial Times, Cape Town has been listed on the Global Cities of the Future 2016/17 as one of the world’s top cities for foreign direct investment (FDI). Cape Town, the only African city listed, was ranked 21st for its FDI strategy.

Cactus completes fintech investments

Business advisory firm Cactus Advisors has closed its second and third investments of CY 2016 into African fintech startups Flutterwave and E-Factor.

Brace yourselves for petrol price hikes

In what is certainly a dampener to the start of 2017, the Automobile Association (AA) says South Africans are likely to face a series of fuel price hikes this year. Unaudited month-end fuel price data released by the Central Energy Fund (CEF) showed substantial price increases for all types of fuel. According to the AA, petrol is expected to increase by 51 cents a litre, diesel by around 40 cents and illuminating paraffin by 43 cents.

VW expands into Kenya & Rwanda

German car manufacturer Volkswagen (VW) is expanding into East Africa. The company has opened a new assembly plant in Kenya, in the industrial town of Thika, and has also launched plans for a ride-sharing service to take advantage of the increased demand for vehicles in Africa. A few weeks prior, VW signed a deal to build an assembly plant in Algeria, too.

Invest in SA, says Eskom chief Matshela Koko

Matshela Koko, Eskom’s interim group CEO, has called for business to invest in the South African economy, saying that electricity is no longer a constraint for the country, given that the first unit of the Kusile power station has now been connected to the national grid.

Ekurhuleni Metro's Ramasela Ganda nominated for CFO Awards

Ramasela Ganda has been nominated for the 2017 CFO Awards for her achievements while heading up the financial division of the City of Ekurhuleni. The annual 'Oscars for South African CFOs', to be held on 11 May, recognises CFOs of listed companies, large corporations, state-owned entities and government institutions and awards them for outstanding performance and leadership.

Barclays named Middle East's Wealth Manager of the Year

Barclays has been named ‘Wealth Manager of the Year’ in the Middle East for the third consecutive year by asset management publication Global Investor. The award was announced during the 2016 Global Investor/ISF MENA Awards ceremony, held in Dubai.

The future of banking is now: WATCH FNB CIO Peter Alkema at #afta16 #findaba16

FNB has long been lauded as the most progressive of South Africa's big four banks and it has received global recognition of its innovative and digitisation initiatives. The bank added another award to its bulging trophy cabinet at the African FinTech Awards at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 in October, beating Absa and Standard Bank to the honours in the Incumbent Bank category. But while FNB may have enjoyed much success over the past few years, according to CIO Peter Alkema, it is certainly not resting on its laurels.

Sarb imposes administrative sanctions on two banks

The South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) has imposed administrative sanctions on Société Générale Johannesburg Branch (Société Générale) and Absa Bank Limited (Absa), directing the two banks to take remedial action. This was after the SARB conducted inspections in terms of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FIC Act) and found weaknesses in the anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism control measures of both entities.

Egyptian startups receive £1m boost

The British Embassy in Cairo is pumping a million pounds into the thriving Egyptian tech landscape in a show of support for the North African nation's entrepreneurs.

EPPF's Nopasika Lila nominated for CFO Award

Nopasika Lila has been nominated for a CFO Award in 2017 for her sterling work at the Eskom Pension and Provident Fund (EPPF). The annual 'Oscars for South African CFOs', to be held on 11 May, recognises CFOs of listed companies, large corporations, state-owned entities and government institutions and awards them for outstanding performance and leadership.

Standard Chartered to exit retail banking in Thailand

UK lender Standard Chartered has announced that, in 2017, it intends to transfer its Thai retail banking business to Tisco Financial Group Pcl, saying that it lacked the scale to generate adequate returns. It will, however, continue to operate corporate, institutional and commercial banking businesses in Thailand.

Boloro launches debit authentication system in SA

Boloro, a New York-based technology company known for its globally patented, multifactor mobile authentication technology and mobile payment platform, has launched the first in a series of new, global products in South Africa to help eliminate fraud.

You need to be a creative thinker, innovative and flexible, says Jabulani Dlamuka, uShaka CFO

In the two years since he has been at the helm of the finance department, uShaka Marine World chief financial officer Jabulani Dlamuka has increased revenue by 20% and cut costs by 5% overall. He has implemented various new strategies and systems, and changed governance structures to make the department more efficient. To do all of this and keep the tourism entity successful, he’s had to be on his toes. “You cannot be relaxed. You need to be a creative thinker, innovative and flexible. At the same time, you need to understand the market you’re operating in. The industry is quite flexible, so if you’re not increasing your pace you’ll get left behind.”

The Coca-Cola Company and AB InBev reach $3.15 billion deal

The Coca-Cola Company and Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) have reached an agreement regarding the transition of AB InBev’s 54.5% equity stake in Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) for $3.15 billion, after customary adjustments. In addition, the companies have reached an agreement in principle for The Coca-Cola Company to acquire AB InBev’s interest in bottling operations in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, El Salvador and Honduras for an undisclosed amount.

On-demand alcohol delivery app receives R500k investment

On-demand alcohol delivery app Bottles has successfully navigated the stringent demands of popular reality series Shark Tank SA and emerged with investment of R500 000, after The Creative Council co-CEO Gil Oved bought a 10% stake in the business.

BCX receives R1 billion from Telkom

Telkom has given its ICT subsidiary, Business Connexion (BCX), which it acquired in 2015 in an all-cash deal worth R2.7 billion, a monetary boost of R1 billion, so that the IT services company can meet its debt and working capital requirements.

Paystack earns $1,3m in seed funding

Y-Combinator-backed Nigerian fintech Paystack has closed on $1.3-million in seed funding from the likes of Tencent, Comcast Ventures and M&S Partners.

Life Healthcare to fund Alliance deal with $756 million offer

SA’s Life Healthcare Group Holdings Ltd., which agreed in November to buy Alliance Medical Group Ltd. for $990 million, has said it intends to raise $756 million through a rights issue. This is in a bid to reduce debt following its UK expansion.

Downgrade still a threat to SA, says BMI

BMI Research, in its latest Africa Monitor, says that, in the absence of key structural reforms, the risk of a downgrade of SA’s foreign currency debt to junk status remains a threat.

Distell's Lucas Verwey nominated for 2017 CFO Awards

Distell CFO Lucas Verwey has been nominated for a CFO Award in 2017. The annual 'Oscars for South African CFOs', to be held on 11 May, recognises CFOs of listed companies, large corporations, state-owned entities and government institutions and awards them for outstanding performance and leadership.

Ethiopian Airlines borrows $159 million from AfDB

Ethiopian Airlines has taken a loan of $159 million from the African Development Bank (AfDB), which it will use to finance an expansion plan that includes doubling its fleet. The state-owned carrier currently has 80 planes, with a further 50 on order.

Be a productivity ninja: join Think Productive's two-day course

Increasing productivity and dealing with stress and procrastination to work smarter and faster is the first port of call when it comes to transforming lagging enterprises. At the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 in October, Think Productive director of Western Europe and leading productivity trainer, Marcel van den Berg presented a host of tips and tricks that will turn anyone from mild-mannered office worker a into a productivity ninja.

IMF chief Christine Lagarde found guilty of negligence

A Paris court has convicted Christine Lagarde (pictured), International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief, of negligence over her handling of a multi-million-euro dispute during the time she was France’s finance minister almost 10 years ago.

SNG joins 2017 CFO awards as sponsor

Accounting firm SizweNtsalubaGobodo (SNG) has once again thrown its weight behind the CFO Awards by once again sponsoring the award for Compliance and Governance, which was won by ABI Finance Director Walter Leonhardt in 2016. The annual 'Oscars for South African CFOs', to be held on 11 May, recognises CFOs of listed companies, large corporations, state-owned entities and government institutions and awards them for outstanding performance and leadership.

Elon Musk on global power list

Pretoria-born inventor and visionary Elon Musk is 21st on the latest Forbes list of most powerful people on the planet. With an estimated fortune of over $11,5 billion, he is also one of the 100 wealthiest.

Uber's Ebi Atawodi: "Collaboration in the African tech space is practically impossible`

Africa is a continent of over one billion people, 54 countries, vast land mass and a multitude of languages, customs and cultures. Panelists at the Africa Technology Summit held in Lagos, Nigeria, by the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology earlier this month agreed that Africa's diverse markets and the need to adapt to individual circumstances remain a stern challenge for tech startups looking to expand across the continent.

Don't think risk, think business, says Ryan McDougall, Group FD Trustco Group Holdings

Ryan McDougall, Group financial director of Trustco Group Holdings, was almost lost to the financial world as he came close to pursuing a career in paleontology. Having recently announced he will be leaving Trustco and Namibia to return home to South Africa and take up a position as CFO of MyBucks from January 2017, we caught up with Ryan to chat about his time at Trustco. “I will really miss Trustco. The people create a unique atmosphere of energy and confidence, which other mid-sized companies seem to lack. There is something intangible and exciting about an organisation of this size which can respond rapidly and dynamically to shifting strategies and market trends.”

Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 50

Do you want to keep up to date with the latest developments in finance, but you are short of time? Don’t worry. CFO South Africa weekly collects 10 of the most important articles from international media for your convenience.

BP signs Abu Dhabi oil deal worth $2.2 billion

British oil giant BP has struck a deal to take a 10% share in an onshore oil concession in Abu Dhabi, in one of the largest oil fields in the Middle East, in a deal worth $2.2 billion.

There's still room for improvement in transformation, says CFO of Chancellor House Holdings (CHH), Seithati Bolipombo

The matter of diversity and transformation in the workplace is topical and can, at times, be somewhat controversial. Roy Clark penned a broad and insightful guest article about transformation in CFO Magazine. As part of this, we asked Seithati Bolipombo, an inspiring young CFO, to share her thoughts on the topic. “Transformation won’t happen by osmosis or natural selection because at its core, it is a people thing. It comes down to people and behaviour and the decisions that people make,” she said.

Rand Merchant buys 30% stake in Hastings

SA’s Rand Merchant Investment Holdings (RMI), which has a majority stake in OUTsurance, has bought a 30% stake in UK-based insurer, Hastings, which sells car insurance through price comparison websites. The company listed a little over one year ago.

AB InBev to sell Distell stake in entirety

Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) has announced that it will be selling its entire stake in South Africa’s Distell Group to state-owned pension fund, the Public Investment Corporation (PIC). This was part of the agreement concluded during AB InBev’s $100 billion takeover of SABMiller, as stipulated by the Competition Tribunal.

Disabled entrepreneurs receive R30m boost

Announced by Minster of Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu, the Amavulandlela Fund will support entrepreneurs with disabilities and be managed by the Small Enterprise Funding Agency.

Plans to merge Shoprite and Steinhoff into retail giant

Shoprite and Steinhoff issued a "joint detailed cautionary announcement" earlier this week saying that they are in talks about the possibility of combining operations to form a new retail entity: Retail Africa. Should the transaction conclude, the newly formed entity will be the largest retailer in Africa, employing some 186,000 staff members.

Investec's Nishlan Samujh nominated for CFO Awards

Investec Group CFO Nishlan Samujh has been nominated for a CFO Award in 2017. The annual 'Oscars for South African CFOs', to be held on 11 May, recognises CFOs of listed companies, large corporations, state-owned entities and government institutions and awards them for outstanding performance and leadership.

Correction: payment but no guilt admission Nikon distributor

This article refers to the blog post Nikon distributors fined R300,000, which was published on this website on 8 December 2016, but has subsequently been taken down. It has come to our attention that there were factual inaccuracies in the post, which we wish to correct.

Global entries are open for the CFO Case Study Competition 2017

The recently concluded 2016 edition of the CFO Case Study Competition saw 320 teams from 53 universities, 25 countries and five continents take on the challenge, competing to win a cash price of R100,000. The winners were Team Athena from the Copperbelt University in Zambia. CFO South Africa and the Finance Indaba Africa 2017 will host the 2017 global finals of the CFO Case Study Competition.

Towards global wealth creation: WATCH Wealth Migrate's Scott Picken at #afta16 #findaba16

While many startups have the long-term aim of going global, real estate investment firm Wealth Migrate already boasts a presence on five continents with investors in 84 cities on its globally compliant platform. At the African FinTech Awards at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 in October, Wealth Migrate CEO Scott Picken explained how his company aimed to solve one of the world's most pressing challenges: bridging the global wealth gap. While 49% of the world's wealth is held in real estate, only 12,9% actually have access to property and less than 1% retire wealthy, according to Scott.

Crazy! FOUR different owners for award-winning finance boss

It has been a tumultuous year for Walter Leonhardt, the award-winning finance director of the company that bottles and distributes Coca-Cola and many other popular drinks. When he won two of the most coveted prizes at the 2016 CFO Awards he worked for Coca-Cola bottler ABI. Since then, ownership has changed from SABMiller to AB Inbev, with The Coca-Cola Company itself soon becoming the third majority owner – with a sale to a fourth party on the cards.

Visa aims to boost African fintech

Visa, in partnership with Hong Kong-based venture capital firm and incubator Nest, to run a four-day fintech bootcamp in Nairobi, Kenya, for innovative startups in Africa.

Nedbank's Raisibe Morathi nominated for CFO Awards

Nedbank CFO Raisibe Morathi has been nominated for a CFO Award in 2017, following her nomination in 2015. The annual 'Oscars for South African CFOs', to be held on 11 May, recognises CFOs of listed companies, large corporations, state-owned entities and government institutions and awards them for outstanding performance and leadership.

Marinella Vigouroux new Howden Africa CFO, replacing Kevin Johnson

Kevin Johnson has left his position as CFO of Howden Africa Holdings Limited (HAHL), moving to the Colfax Corporation where he has accepted a senior position in the company. Marinella Vigouroux (pictured) has taken over the CFO role at HAHL, effective 8 December. Vogouroux is also an Executive Director of the company.

Standard snaps up stake in Firepay

Big Four financial institution Standard Bank has bought a majority stake in Firepay, which produced the SnapScan quick payment app in partnership with the bank in 2014. SnapScan, which allows users to make payments from their mobile device by scanning a QR code, now has more 32 000 physical and online merchants onboard.

EPPF CFO Nopasika Lila's road to success - in her own words

“Growing up, I remember being told that accounting was a difficult field and that those who were studying to become CAs were considered to be part of the elite,” writes Nopasika Lila, CFO of the Eskom Pension and Provident Fund (EPPF), in this self-penned piece. “I was initially overwhelmed by the task at hand, but over time I elegantly succeeded. My confidence grew and I’ve learned to be a lot more decisive, deliberate and immediate in my actions.” In this guest article, Nopasika reveals how she charted her path to success, talks about her love for the piano, and shares some crucial lessons about mentoring and people management.

Thabo Mbeki appointed new Chancellor of Unisa

Judge Bernard Ngoepe has retired from his role as Chancellor of the University of South Africa (Unisa); a role he held for the past 15 years. Former President Thabo Mbeki (pictured) has been appointed to take his place.

Driving change in the public sector: ACCA report

The level of economic growth is the number one driver of change in the public sector, according to the latest report in the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants’ (ACCA) Professional Accountants: The Future series.

Seven crucial steps to prevent invoice fraud

Invoice fraud, when a genuine invoice is altered to get a customer to pay for goods or services but into the wrong account, is increasing at a rapid rate, and while it is difficult to trace it is not impossible. In this guest article, John Mc Loughlin, MD of J2 Software, explains seven practical steps you can take to prevent invoice fraud from happening to your business.

UFC appoints new CFO

Mixed martial arts promotion the UFC has announced the appointment of former investment banker Andrew Schleimer as its new CFO.

Roads and public works CFO Yimile Ngqele suspended

Yimile Ngqele, Roads and Public Works department CFO for the Province of the Eastern Cape, has been suspended following allegations of financial mismanagement and poor performance, as well as alleged irregular expenditure incurred by his department. In his absence, Zoleka Madikazi has been appointed Acting CFO.

Microsoft SA's Paul Marten nominated for CFO Awards 2017

Microsoft SA finance director Paul Marten has been nominated for a CFO Award in 2017. The annual 'Oscars for South African CFOs', to be held on 11 May, recognises CFOs of listed companies, large corporations, state-owned entities and government institutions and awards them for outstanding performance and leadership.

Postgraduate planning: WATCH Monash SA's Alvin Liew at #findaba16

With more than 120 000 South Africans planning to embark on a course of postgraduate study over the next 12 months, education remains a key driver of a successful career. At the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 in October, Monash SA acting CFO Alvin Liew examined how to maximise the ROI on postgraduate study and use it to launch an international career, when to embark on a programme of study and how to invest in oneself, drawing on his own experiences.

Lego CEO step downs, COO takes over

Jorgen Vig Knudstorp (pictured), part of the team responsible for turning Lego into one of the world’s most profitable toy makers, will be stepping down as chief executive officer at the end of this year to become chairman of the company. Knudstorp was the first non-family member to head up the 84-year-old toy company.

Finance Indaba 2017: Purple Group eager to build on success

“We have a completely different approach to financial services. We take what we do seriously, but not ourselves, so we have a lot of fun with our customers. Despite the fact that investment is a very serious discussion, it doesn’t need to be a boring and staid experience," says Charles Savage, CEO of Purple Group, a gold partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2017 on 12 and 13 October 2017 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

Peregrine's Robert Katz nominated for CFO Awards

Peregrine CFO Robert Katz has being nominated for a CFO Award in 2017, after being put forward for an award in 2016 as well. The annual 'Oscars for South African CFOs', to be held on 11 May, recognises CFOs of listed companies, large corporations, state-owned entities and government institutions and awards them for outstanding performance and leadership.

Slow growth for SA in Q4

According to the latest survey from the Bureau for Economic Research (BER), the last quarter of 2016 will show only subdued growth.

Leadership after the scars: the inspiring tale of Lonmin CFO Barrie van der Merwe

There’s little doubt that Lonmin, a dual-listed company and one of the world's largest primary producers of Platinum Group Metals, has been through a few rocky patches over recent years. Chief financial officer Barrie van der Merwe, who took on the role in mid-April, after his previous post as CFO of Debswana Diamond Company, says this has impacted the CFO role quite significantly:

No ratings downgrade for SA

The weekend was surely jovial for many after S&P Global Ratings announced late Friday that it had kept its assessment of South Africa’s foreign-currency debt at BBB- (one level above non-investment grade), with a negative outlook, while cutting the local-currency rating to BBB.

AFGRI's Johan Geel nominated for CFO Award

AFGRI group financial director Johan Geel has followed his 2016 nomination by being nominated for a CFO Award in 2017. The annual 'Oscars for South African CFOs', to be held on 11 May, recognises CFOs of listed companies, large corporations, state-owned entities and government institutions and awards them for outstanding performance and leadership.

MTN chairman Phuthuma Nhleko sells R123 million in shares

MTN chairman Phuthuma Nhleko (pictured) has sold off some R123 million in shares, ahead of the arrival of the company's new CEO, Rob Shuter, says Bloomberg. This amounts to almost half of Nhleko's stock in the telecoms company.

Anglo American exits Exxaro 9.7% stake

British miner Anglo American has said it intends to sell its 9.7% stake in South African diversified miner Exxaro Resources, valued at R3.39 billion. The company says it plans to use the proceeds to reduce debt.

Christiaan Engelbrecht joins Ster-Kinekor as CFO

Christiaan Engelbrecht (pictured), who has worked previously for Vodacom, Deloitte UK and Deloitte, took on the role of CFO for Ster-Kinekor from 1 November. We caught up with him to find out how things are going. "If you ask how I feel about my appointment it is difficult to put into words how humbled I am to be considered for this role and how excited I am to co-create with and learn from everyone in Ster-Kinekor and Primedia.”

Rowland Wallenius joins Eastplats as CFO & Corporate Secretary

Rowland Wallenius (pictured) has joined the senior management team of Vancouver-based, JSE-listed Eastern Platinum Limited (Eastplats) as chief financial officer and corporate secretary. Wallenius takes over from interim CFO, David Li.

SA Taxi to pump R300m into Zebra cab owner-driver scheme

SA Taxi has secured R300 million in funding from Futuregrowth Asset Management, which will be used to finance the company's Zebra Cabs owner-driver scheme. The country's largest financier of minibus taxis acquired Zebra Cabs in 2015 as it continued its drive to expand its business activities into relevant adjacent markets.

Clover's Elton Bosch nominated for CFO Awards 2017

Financial director Elton Bosch's work at Clover has been recognised with a nomination for a CFO Award. The annual 'Oscars for South African CFOs', to be held on 11 May, recognises CFOs of listed companies, large corporations, state-owned entities and government institutions and awards them for outstanding performance and leadership.

Ryan McDougall resigns as Trustco FD

“Trustco is one of the most dynamic and progressive organisations I’ve ever come across and it has been a pleasure to work here,” says Ryan McDougall (pictured), outgoing financial director of Trustco. McDougall, a nominee of the CFO Awards 2016, recently announced that he will be leaving the Namibia-based Trustco at the end of December this year, and relocating back to South Africa.

$200 million ploughed into Nigerian FinTech

According to global financial services giant KPMG, more than $200 million has flowed into the Nigerian FinTech space over the past two years. It called on the Nigerian government to take the initiative to further increase investment by proving incentives and a welcoming regulatory ecosystem at a summit entitled The FinTech Disruption – Understanding the Value Proposition at the Eko Hotel and Suites in Lagos.

Finance teams are a sounding board for decision-makers, says Philip Timberlake, CFO of Liberty Health

When he’s not hard at work heading up the finance team at Liberty Health, CFO Philip Timberlake can be found running along his favourite trails on Table Mountain, developing his “mental fortitude”. The key to being a successful CFO lies in communication, he says: “Within our economy of knowledge, ideas are currency. Of course, to understand, we need to listen, engage and be prepared to let go of our own ideas.”

Merchant West awarded AAA rating, lists bonds on JSE

Merchant West, an authorised financial services provider specialising in business finance and advisory services, has been awarded a AAA rating by the leading international rating agency, Standard & Poors. This is the highest credit rating that can be afforded to a company, country or structured finance transaction. In light of this, Merchant West can now officially list its bonds on the JSE.

ACCA joins Finance Indaba 2017

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) has partnered with Finance Indaba 2017. It will be the association's second showing at the event. Founded in 1904, the ACCA casts itself as the world's most forward-thinking accounting organisation, working across the globe to uplift the profession and boasting more than 188 000 qualified members and 480 000 students of its masters-level qualifications worldwide.

Infront opens two new SA offices as part of expansion drive

Leading, trading and information solution provider Infront has opened two new offices in South Africa, one in Johannesburg and the other in Cape Town, in a bid to stimulate local business. The company also welcomes two seniors to the local team, Renier Linde and Timothy Singh.

Sanlam throws its weight behind ADDaBIT

After just two years of development, online savings platform ADDaBIT has managed to attract the interest of financial services behemoth Sanlam. The basic premise is that users choose what they want for their children – education, gifts, etc – and ask friends and family to contribute whenever they are able. There are no penalties, monthly fees or minimum payments, and users earn a competitive rate of return on their investment.

Lesrick Nayager takes up CFO post at Decision Inc

Lesrick Nayager (pictured) has been appointed CFO for Decision Inc., a company which represents leading global technology brands and are experts in the implementation, support and execution of such technologies.

Oceana sees good profit, great potential for more growth

Oceana, Africa’s largest black-owned fishing company, whose finance head Imraan Soomra (pictured) was recipient of the Transformation & Empowerment Award at the CFO Awards 2015, has seen impressive results for the year ending 30 September. Group revenue grew by 34% to R8.2bn, operating profit increased by 69% to R1.7bn, earnings per share was up by 34% and headline earnings per share was up by 20%.

SANParks CFO Rajesh Mahabeer nominated for CFO Awards 2017

Rajesh Mahabeer has been recognised for his work at SANParks by being nominated for a CFO Award. The annual 'Oscars for South African CFOs', to be held on 11 May, recognises CFOs of listed companies, large corporations, state-owned entities and government institutions and awards them for outstanding performance and leadership.

Netcare profits jump 19%

If the world's economy has slowed, Netcare does not seem to be feeling it. In the Group’s 2016 annual financial results released on 21 November, it noted that group revenue was up 12.1%, to R37 796 million, group EBITDA was up 11.2% to R5 539 million, and normalised profit after taxation was up 19.1% to R2 906 million.

Solar for a new Africa: WATCH The Sun Exchange's Morwesi Ramonyai at #afta16 #findaba16

Africa has a huge untapped potential for solar power generation and initiatives that electrify businesses and impoverished communities could help the continent meet its economic development goals. At the African FinTech Awards at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 in October, The Sun Exchange CCO Morwesi Ramonyai talked about the revolutionary bitcoin-based investment scheme that is filling the gap between large-scale solar farms and solar-powered lamps and other items.

Clean audit for Department of Social Development

The Department of Social Development, whose finance division is headed up by 2016 CFO Awards nominee Clifford Appel, has received a clean audit for the year 2015/2016. It was one of nine other national departments to achieve this hard-won feat. According to the auditor-general (AG), the number of auditees that received financially unqualified opinions with no findings (clean audits) increased overall from 122 in 2013-14 to 152 in 2015-16.

Atlas Mara's Arina McDonald nominated for CFO Awards 2017

Arina McDonald has been recognised for her work at Atlas Mara by being nominated for a CFO Award. The annual 'Oscars for South African CFOs', to be held on 11 May, recognises CFOs of listed companies, large corporations, state-owned entities and government institutions and awards them for outstanding performance and leadership.

Zuretha Steyl new LexisNexis CFO

Zuretha Steyl (pictured) has been appointed chief financial officer of LexisNexis South Africa, a provider of content and technology solutions for the legal and professional markets, effective 1 November 2016.

DocFox joins forces with Norton Rose Fulbright

Fintech startup DocFox has partnered with leading global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright to provide a digital solution to help companies simplify the FICA compliance process.

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