Interview

A complete overview of interviews with South Africa's most prominent CFOs and FDs.

University of Johannesburg's Nolwazi Mamorare: The power of purpose

During the 2015 #feesmustfall student campaign, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) lost only one academic day to the protest. This was because UJ was ahead of the game in financially supporting its students, owing, in large part, to the efforts of the team lead by Nolwazi Mamorare, who is today the university's CFO. She spoke to Georgina Guedes about the kind of difference that can be made if you have the will to do so.

Premier CFO Kobus Gertenbach's dream of flying

Need to fly a couple of executives into Lesotho to visit one of Premier's bakery operations? No need to book a commercial flight - CFO Kobus Gertenbach has achieved his lifelong dream of getting his pilot's licence and owning a light aircraft and is more than equal to the task.

Alexander Forbes Group CFO Bruce Bydawell keeping it real

Alexander Forbes Group CFO Bruce Bydawell recently took a sabbatical to spend time working on European farms. As soon as he was appointed CFO on his return, he started planning for his succession by a black South African. He has singular view on his own role as CFO, and on life in general, which he shared with Georgina Guedes.

Angela Pillay: Happy to be telling Sasfin's "good news" story

One year after she was appointed as Group CFO of Sasfin, Angela Pillay chatted to Georgina Guedes about being part of CEO Michael Sassoon's new vision for the bank, and being able to deliver an excellent set of results in her first year.

City of Tshwane CFO Umar Banda empowering the youth

At the CFO Awards on 15 May 2019, Umar Banda walked away with the Young CFO of the Year Award, in recognition of the exceptional work he's doing at the City of Tshwane. He has addressed the City's illiquid position by finding innovative ways for the city to generate income, and he is excited about the establishment of a CA programme, which will bring much-needed skills to the field of public finance.

Clinix CFO Elisa Mkhize: To yourself be true

Clinix Health Group CFO Elisa Mkhize thinks deeply about her role and her place in the world. She shares her mantras, professional vision and personal commitments with CFO South Africa.

Investec Specialist Bank CFO Marlé van der Walt: "I thrive on change"

On 8 March, International Women's Day, Investec South Africa launched its "Women on the Rise" campaign, highlighting its relationship with women in business, education and sport. As part of the launch, Investec introduced the public to its newly appointed Specialist Bank CFO Marlé van der Walt. CFO South Africa spoke to her about her finance leadership experiences.

Nampak CFO Glenn Fullerton's remarkable journey to recovery after a cycling accident

"Never say die" is Nampak CFO Glenn Fullerton's approach to life. It served him well when he was told he would never return to work after a debilitating cycling accident in 2013. But this indomitable professional rose again to head up the finances of Africa's largest packaging company. Georgina Guedes chatted to him about how he got there and what he has learnt along the way.

8 questions for Aspen CFO Sean Capazorio

Sean Capazorio's Finance Transformation Award winner speaks to us about the global success of Aspen Pharmacare, the role of finance and how he managed to turn the numbers from cold figures into good stories.

I wanted to serve, says Ramasela Ganda, Public Sector CFO of the Year 2017

Earlier this year, Ramasela Ganda won the Public Sector CFO of the Year Award for her incredible accomplishments at Ekurhuleni Municipality. She dedicated the prize to “all public servants that serve us diligently and with honesty” and referred specifically to public sector CFOs who have “lost their lives because they said no to corruption”. Long eschewing a CFO role in the private sector, she left Ekurhuleni at the end of last year and started as CFO: rental and corporate service at Barloworld, which had been courting her for quite a while.

I wish we could think in a truly radical way, says Investec CFO Nishlan Samujh

Nishlan Samujh, CFO of Investec, is one of those quiet CFOs that everybody who matters in the South African business world seems to know. He says winning the Governance & Compliance Award at this year’s CFO Awards was a huge surprise, and adds that his team is extremely proud of the accomplishment. In this conversation, Nishlan talks with verve about his humble beginnings, also revealing how to be an effective finance leader in a world full of entrepreneurs and “big people”. The most passion, however, he reserves for the prospects of South Africa’s youth. “Why can’t our kids be like those in India or Silicon Valley? We have a whole new generation coming and, as a country, we need to find out what our next big thing is. How do we get youth and education behind a common goal? Instead of talking about yesteryear, we need to fly out of it. These things are easy to say, but I do wish we could think in a truly, truly radical way.”

Be sharper, more agile and more responsive, says Omnia's Wayne Koonin

After transforming the chemical behemoth’s information technology and business systems, award-winning CFO Wayne Koonin is now stimulating Omnia’s growing appetite for acquisitions. “Omnia is an incredibly complex business with a lot of depth and an unlimited number of challenges, which suits my personality.”

Instincts drive mentorship, says IDC CFO Nonkululeko Dlamini

Nonkululeko Dlamini, chief financial officer at the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), believes that CFOs have a duty to uplift and empower younger employees. “CFOs should be the most approachable people in the business,” she says.

Ensure the rationale behind an acquisition is sound, advises Telkom's Deon Fredericks

The industry in which Telkom operates is competitive; the environment fluid and prone to frequent change, says Deon Fredericks, the company’s group chief financial officer. Because of this, it considered BCX (then known as Business Connexion) twice, the smaller company first catching the eye of the telecoms behemoth in 2006/2007, and then again in 2012/2013. Eventually, the deal proved too good to be ignored: Telkom required an ICT company to provide end-to-end solutions to corporate customers and BCX was a complementary fit. Deon sat down with CFO South Africa to talk about the acquisition – a deal with a R2.7 billion price tag. “We are very focused on what we want to achieve with BCX in the market. We are starting to see some good wins through the venture.”

Keeping up with the Kathans: Five siblings, four CAs, three CFOs

Five siblings, five exceptional professionals. This is the remarkable story of the Kathan family: one medical doctor, one Deloitte executive, and no less than three CFOs. We sat down with Veran, Christine, Justine, Mark, and Sunita to talk about the forces that shaped their lives, what motivates them, and their hopes for their children.

I am an authentic leader, open to ideas, says Vodacom CFO Till Streichert

It didn’t take Till Streichert long to turn Vodacom’s finance team into a successful intelligence unit that keeps raising the bar globally. It is thus little wonder the German executive was named South Africa’s 2017 CFO of the Year, also walking away with the Strategy Execution and the Finance Transformation Awards. In this exclusive interview, Till tells us about the successful team transformation. “It was a stunning turnaround and an astonishing achievement for the finance team.”

Success comes from surrounding yourself with positive, life-affirming people, says Nyasha Dzumbunu, CFO of SBU

“Change is the only constant in these times. In that situation of volatility and uncertainty, we always try to stay adaptable to change. Being a more agile and adaptable organisation is critical in enabling us to survive and thrive,” says Nyasha Dzumbunu, CFO of Shanduka Black Umbrellas (SBU), one of the leading enterprises in supplier development organisations in South Africa. While she may be a powerhouse CFO Monday to Friday, in her downtime, Nyasha likes to design women’s clothing – a passion she hopes might one day blossom into a full line of corporate and casual wear. “It’s about power dressing – helping women look and feel spectacular – and I’m very passionate about this. I feel it’s important to express one’s femininity even when you’re in a power role.”

I always lead the charge, says Musa Magongo, CFO of SWACAA

“The time has come for the CFO to become an important executive member who pushes for value creation other than the normal traditional financial role,” says Musa Magongo, CFO of the Swaziland Civil Aviation Authority (SWACAA). “The CFO is expected to have a better understanding of the impact of each process, whether commercial or operational, and be able to provide the necessary advice and guidance to the technical team.” In his role, Musa oversees all of the financial management issues of SWACAA, from budget preparation and implementation to monitoring, treasury and reporting. While this includes a focus on both finance and strategy, he says the nature of the role means he spends a greater proportion of his time on strategy, and ensuring that the organisation’s overall strategy is implemented.

Kirsten King, Comair FD, talks Benoni and Boeings

Airlines are a notoriously difficult business, with narrow profit margins and stiff competition. They are also prey to the volatility of oil prices, as well as fickle exchange rates. But for Kirsten King, a self-proclaimed Benoni girl who entered the “grey-suited” world of accountancy, this is a place not only for the day-to-day administration of finance but also for networking, learning, and a few strong cups of tea.

 

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