Interview

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

Anbann Chetti, CFO Nedbank Corporate Banking: Be the number one

“THE best advice that I can give to young finance experts is to try and understand financial statements better than anybody else. This way, you’ll get rewards that others don’t get,” says Anbann Chetti, CFO of Nedbank Corporate Banking. In an interview with CFO South Africa he explains that a successful career is as much about enjoyment as it is about “positive, healthy competition” with your peers.

Bright Amisi, Group Finance Manager at SABS: `Risk management is going to become a key part of the CFO portfolio`

Bright Amisi (37) has been the Group Finance Manager of the SABS, a leading conformity assessment industry player, since 2008. SABS is the largest conformity assessment body in Africa and is the official publisher of South African National Standards (SANS) used across all sectors of the economy. He thinks the most challenging about his position are that the non-finance issues demand a lot of his time. He doesn’t always sit in his office worrying about the numbers; He is frequently out there trying to enable the business to be successful. Everybody wants advice before making decisions. Before joining SABS Bright was employed by the Development Bank of South Africa as the GM: Finance and Administration - NEPAD for three years. Bright has also previously served as the Finance Director of Africare Zimbabwe, Head of Finance and Administration for the Red Cross in Zimbabwe and as an Auditor. He holds an MCom (Accounting), BSc (Hons) and is an Associate member of ACCA, CIMA and CIS. Bright is married to Diana with four kids and is a Formula One fanatic! Which skills do you think a finance professional should master to be successful in his/her work? A finance professional needs knowledge of accounting standards (IFRS), tax, ICT systems and systems integration, as well as risk management.

Ian Graham, CFO of GE Oil & Gas Africa & GE Southern Africa: "South Africa can be a launch pad for the continent"

“South Africa has the unique opportunity to be a launch pad for the whole of Southern Africa and the rest of the continent,” says Ian Graham, CFO of GE Oil & Gas Africa & GE Southern Africa. As part of the huge American multinational company General Electric, GE is quickly growing its operations in Africa. There are huge opportunities in countries like Angola, Mozambique and Zambia,” says Ian. “If South Africa can leverage this, they can also minimize their exposure to slower economies like Europe.”

Callen Hodgskiss, HPCA: opportunities for finance talents at NGOs

“FOLLOW what you value,” is the advice of Callen Hodgskiss. As CFO of the Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa (HPCA) he knows what he is talking about. “I hope young financial professionals realize there are a lot of opportunities in the NGO sector. It is a dynamic environment and there is a lot that you can contribute. There is growing need for qualified people at NGOs and the salaries are becoming more and more market related.”

Brett Tromp, CFO at Discovery Health: the softer side of a CFO

“FIRSTLY, always do more than your job description tells you to, so people will recognize your value.” The advice could sound gratuitous coming from anyone else, but if anybody can shed a light on a successful career for young finance professionals it must be Brett Tromp. “Secondly,” he says, “create a market for yourself in your organisation. Find executives to talk to and establish a brand of knowledge and trust. Those two things can be the big secret to a successful career and quickly moving up the ladder.”

Grant Scrutton, Finance Director Winhold Limited; `It is never boring, never the same, never "done"`

Grant Scrutton is Finance director of Winhold Limited which is a JSE-listed holding company with its main investments being in its subsidiaries, Gundle Limited and Inmins Limited. Gundle manufactures polyethylene bags, construction sheeting, consumer and industrial packaging, agricultural film and dam linings and distributes to the agricultural, chemical, construction, food processing, industrial and consumer markets, as well as installing dam linings in sub-Sahara Africa. Inmins comprises 19 strategically located operations servicing the mining and industrial sectors with a wide range of consumable and maintenance products, and includes divisions specialising in hose, mining pipe systems, chain and sprocket systems and conveyor belting.

Jo-Ann Pohl, CFO Standard Chartered Bank: Creating a CFO buddy system

A buddy system in which young CFOs get paired with experienced counterparts could greatly benefit the South African financial world. It is one of the many ideas that occupy the mind of Jo-Ann Pohl, the energetic and enthusiastic CFO of Standard Chartered Bank. On Friday Pohl met with Alex van Groningen and Melle Eijckelhoff of networking platform CFO SA to discuss the need and opportunities for more interaction between top financial professionals.

Sizwe Nkosi, CFO, Metmar Limited: `CFOs will need to improve their leading from the front and tap into the entrepreneurial sphere of their brains to remain relevant.`

Sizwe Nkosi is CFO of Metmar Limited, which has two main divisions: trading in commodities and investing in resource projects and companies. The commodities trading division focusses on international trading of ferrous and non-ferrous metals, plastic products and chemicals. The investment division invests in mining and minerals projects and companies with the main intention to secure long term cost effective off-take agreements to be traded by the trading division. The main office of the company is in Bryanston with satellite offices in Boksburg, Germiston, Durban and Zimbabwe. Metmar Limited is listed on the main board of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

Alan Winde - Ministry of Finance, Economic Development & Tourism: "There is definitely room for more co-operation between government and companies"

Alan Winde has been a member of the Western Cape Provincial Legislature since 1999. During his first term, he served as Western Cape Provincial Finance Chairman and Executive Committee Member with the Democratic Party. Prior to being re-elected in April 2009, he served as the Chief Whip of the Official Opposition in the Western Cape, as DA Spokesperson on Environment and Planning and as Deputy DA Spokesperson on Economic Development and Tourism.

Bonface Ndawala - Group Financial Control Executive Globacom: `Key issues in the industry of finance at the moment would be the impact of the debt crisis in Europe and America`

The fastest growing telecommunication company in sub-Saharan Africa, Globacom provides world class cutting edge technology and designs telecom solutions to suit the needs of various publics, irrespective of size. As a company, Globacom recently made history as the first single company to build an $800 million high-capacity fiber-optic cable, known as Glo-1. It is the first successful submarine cable from the United Kingdom to Nigeria; and it will decrease telecom costs and provide very reliable bandwidth to all the cities connected to the cable.

André Dippenaar - CFO BioTherm Energy: "It's adapt or die"

Founded in 2003, BioTherm Energy Proprietary Limited (BTE) is one of South Africa’s first independent power producers (IPP). In October 2007, BTE commissioned its 4.2 MW Biogas Project at the PetroSA refinery in Mosselbay in the Eastern Cape Province. This project was the first non-recourse project financed IPP deal to be concluded in South Africa. This project was also the first project to successfully register and monetise carbon credits in South Africa.

Anoj Singh - CFO Transnet: "The CFO is playing the role of Chief Strategy Officer"

Transnet is the largest and most crucial part of the freight logistics chain that delivers goods to each and every South African. The company is fully owned by the South African government but operates as a corporate entity aimed at both supporting and contributing to the country’s freight logistics network. It aims at developing South African industry, reducing the cost of doing business, while at the same time operating efficiently and profitably. Transnet employs 60,000 people and had a yearly turnover (for the financial year to March 31 2012) of R45 billion.

Bikash Prasad - CFO Olam International (East & South Africa): "Forecasting and budgeting are more crucial than ever"

Bikash is qualified member and rank holder of the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of India, a member of Institute of Management Accountants, USA, MBA in Finance and DBF from the Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India (ICFAI). He has been awarded by the Finance Minister in India for top rank in the examination of the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of India. He is a recipient of government scholarship for the highest marks in board exams. He has also received scholarship from ICFAI for academic excellence.

Shaeen Khan - CFO Endress+Hauser: "Set yourself goals and work towards achieving them"

Endress+Hauser is a global leader in measurement instrumentation, services and solutions for industrial process engineering. The Swiss family-owned business, founded in 1953, supports its customers to optimize their process engineering procedures while taking into consideration reliability, safety, economic efficiency and environmental protection.

Frikkie Kotzee - CFO Kumba Iron Ore: "CFOs have had to switch their focus more to efficiency and cost control"

Kumba Iron Ore Limited is a leading value-adding supplier of high quality iron ore to the global steel industry. Kumba is a member of the Anglo American plc group, of which three of its mining businesses are based in South Africa: Platinum, Kumba Iron Ore and Thermal Coal. Kumba Iron Ore employs over 6300 people, of which nearly 75 work at the financial department of the company. The company was listed on JSE in November 2006.

Ted Baxter - CFO Norton Rose: "Not forecasting and budgeting is simply burying your head in the sand like an ostrich"

Ted Baxter, CFO of Norton Rose South Africa, was educated in Harare, Zimbabwe and came to South Africa in 1982. After a short period in the banking industry with Nedcor, he joined a manufacturing company in the accounts dept and within 2 years became financial accountant. It was at this time that he embarked on his studies to become a Chartered Secretary and Administrator (A.C.I.S.) and qualified in 1988, being registered in United Kingdom and South Africa. He is also registered as a public practitioner with the Institute. Ted joined the Boart Longyear International Group, head office, and became the group's assistant company secretary, before being appointed as Admin Manager & a divisional director at Boart Longyear Research Centre, responsible for their financial and administrative affairs. The work was extremely varied exposing Ted to the world of technology and its application in business, the setting up of time and billing, special projects, costing systems and converting research from a cost centre to a profit centre, obtaining joint funding from the CSIR and the establishment of a research centre in Ireland through obtaining financing from the Irish government and the negotiation of tax incentives. Ted sat on a number of committees in the worldwide group including finance & internal audits and IT.

Ronel van Dijk - CFO Spur Group: "Shortly after I took over I changed the way we report on our international businesses. That benefited us"

Ronel van Dijk, CFO of Spur Group, has a B.Rek (Hons) from the University of Stellenbosch. She qualified as a CA(SA) in December 1997 and thereafter spent a year working in the London office of Arthur Andersen & Co. She returned to Cape Town as audit manager with the firm. Ronel joined Spur head office as group financial manager in January 2003. In January 2005, Ronel was appointed as chief financial officer and company secretary, and she was appointed to the board in September 2006.

Zunaid Bulbulia - CFO MTN South Africa: `It has become a lot more stressful`

"I see the CFO becoming more strategic and crucial to overall business success than ever before; I already find myself playing a constructive role in parts of the business that were the exclusive domains of the functional executives concerned only a few short years ago." Zunaid Bulbilia, CFO of MTN South Africa, a company he joined prior to its commercial launch in January 1994 definitely feels it has become 'a lot more stressful'.

Mariette Ebersohn - CFO Mango Airlines: `Goodbye bean-counter, hello unpredictability`

"The CFO position was traditionally a “bean-counting” job primarily responsible for various accounting, reporting and budgeting exercises. Nowadays, the role is much more unpredictable with a number of additional expectations raised beyond traditional technical accounting and regulatory field of expertise." After having interviewed a great number of male CFOs, we are proud to introduce to you the first female CFO in our series. We wonder - would she have a different view on the industry, her role, the world? We'll find out. Please meet Mariette Ebersohn, CFO of Mango Airlines - South Africa’s leading low-cost airline. The airline was launched on 30 October 2006 with bookings going on sale at midnight on the same date; its first flight took place only two weeks later. Mariette joined Mango’s team in August 2008.

Richard Farber, CFO Discovery: "They don't teach you how to deal with people at university"

“I make a special effort to meet all new staff, within Discovery’s Finance division, before they are hired. Partly because I want to personally feel if they are ‘good’ new employees, but also because I find it very important that they feel welcome in the company. The fact that the CFO has taken out the time especially to meet them, contributes greatly to that sense of ‘feeling at home’.” Richard Farber, CFO of Discovery, is a firm believer of the open-door culture that is very vivid in Discovery. “If people have a problem, I want them to know my door is always open – and that my being the CFO does not form a barrier for stepping into my room and talking to me.”

Craig Tingle - CFO Mediclinic: "I trust you. Don't drop me"

“Giving people and managers more power has proved very beneficial to the company.” Craig Tingle has a firm belief in giving people more accountability and responsibility, for them and the company to grow simultaneously. Craig (53) currently holds the position of Chief Financial Officer of Mediclinic International, the sixth largest listed private hospital group in the world with operations in South Africa, Namibia, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates. It is supported by 21,000 staff members internationally.

Pieter de Jager - CFO Andulela Investment Holdings: "I don't count my chickens before they hatch"

“Financial management in the manufacturing space is the most technically challenging arena for finance professionals,” says Pieter de Jager, Chief Financial Officer of Andulela Investment Holdings. He joined the board of Andulela Investment Holdings as CFO in 2008. Andulela is an investment holding company listed on the Equity Investment Instruments sector of the main board of the JSE Limited. The company employs over 550 people and seeks to hold primarily South African strategic investments in mining and metals companies.

Henk Engelbrecht - CFO StratCorp: "The CFO needs to be a strategic thinker who understands the relationship between all the components of a business, its environment and the broader economy"

Henk Engelbrecht has only been acting as Group Financial Director of StratCorp since March 2011. It has been an interesting time so far. “I am a firm believer in not accepting the status quo and to always look at every aspect of the business critically to establish if there are better and more efficient ways of doing business.”

Ian Blackie - CFO Wesgro: "Advances in technology will put even more pressure on the CFO"

“I would expect people to be able to tell me why they are doing something in a certain way. If the answer is “because we’ve always done it that way”, it really tells me a lot about that person and their attitude towards the company and their work.” Ian Blackie, CFO of Wesgro, was initially placed at Wesgro in November 2010 by Deloitte one a short term contract. He calls himself ‘very fortunate’ to have been offered the position of CFO of the company, as he had been looking for an opportunity to move to the Western Cape for some time already. When he was officially appointed CFO, he withheld from making any drastic changes thus far.

Warren Prinsloo - CFO Jasco: "Either step up and play your part or step down"

"We have to ask ourselves how we as a country can compete with countries like South Korea and other Asian Tigers. Frankly, I don’t think we can," says Warren Prinsloo (39), CFO of Jasco Group. Warren is a qualified Chartered Accountant (SA) and has been a registered member of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants since 1999. He is also a member of the Institute of Directors South Africa and has more than twelve years of experience in finance and commerce. He completed his B.Com at Wits University in 2004 followed by his B.Acc in 2005. He passed the Board exam in 2006 and then completed his articles before qualifying as a Chartered Accountant in 1998.

Jannie Serfontein - CFO Eqstra: "A good CFO is able to see in the figures that which is not immediately obvious to others`

"Don't change something when it's working." That is exactly why Jannie Serfontein did not make any radical changes once he was appointed as CFO of Eqstra Holdings in January 2011. After completing his studies at the University of Pretoria, he qualified as a chartered accountant in 1998. He started his career at Deloitte & Touche in 1999 and spent two years in the United States of America in Deloitte & Touche’s Washington DC practice as part of their global development programme.

Katie Murray - CFO Old Mutual: "Don't job-hop, get real experiences"

Scottish Katie Murray has been at Old Mutual for eight years and was Director of Finance: Group Chief Accountant at Old Mutual Plc in London from 2006. In this role, Katie was responsible for Old Mutual’s internal and external reporting, business planning and the sponsorship of the group-wide finance controls initiative. She was also part of a team that revolutionised the global finance reporting function.

Anthony Sher - CFO Adcorp: `A huge level of frustration`

“Regulation and legislation are synonymous to a huge level of frustration.” Anthony Mark Sher (40), CFO of Adcorp, is candidly annoyed by the ever changing requirements within corporate governance, and how that keeps him from doing things he actually should be doing. According to Anthony, things are unlikely to get any easier in the future.

Philippe Georges - CFO Procter & Gamble: `Relationships with distributors not the smoothest`

It was only a few months ago when French Philippe Georges moved to Cape Town. After having lived and worked in several European countries for the past years, this was quite a change of scenery. Philippe was appointed Finance Director for Procter & Gamble in South and East Africa as of January 2012. Although he has only been installed in the position for three months, he already noticed differences between South Africa and Europe. “I find that the relationship between trade and manufacture that’s linked to our industry is less smooth in South Africa; issues regarding payments seem to be somewhat more conflictual and difficult here.”

David Ngobeni - CFO Shanduka: `Pulling in a Chinese shareholder`

“South Africa would be better off facing the challenges of the current economic situation with greater productivity and lesser restrictions.” David Ngobeni, CFO of an investment holding company, Shanduka Group, has a very clear vision on how laws in South Africa limit the country in its development. Supported by his great negotiation skills he hopes to bring his company to the top. After just (1,5) years as CFO, he seems to be heading that way steadily.

Johan Burger - CFO FirstRand Limited: `Fix problems that don't exist here`

South African banks face challenging times, says Johan Burger, CFO of FirstRand Limited. “We are now faced with regulatory changes that have been driven by issues emanating from the past, which played out in global markets, but not necessarily in our home market. In many cases these changes will be a challenge to implement in South Africa, as they seek to fix problems that don’t exist here.”

Tjaart Kruger - CFO African Dawn Capital: `The sky is the limit`

“When you are working in limited resource environment as transpires in a turnaround situation it becomes counterproductive. The CFO will in future have to force himself to strategically focus on business,” says Tjaart Kruger, CFO of African Dawn Capital. “It has become a very complex and highly regulated environment in the listed environment.” Skills herein are vital, yet not always present. “A major weakness that I have encountered in education is that no amount of theory prepares the finance professional for the realities of business itself. Business acumen is that ingredient that makes a good finance professional great.”

Sean Capazorio - CFO Aspen: `Plan your work and work your plan`

“Plan your work and work your plan.” That is one of the things Sean Capazorio needs to do every day to feel fulfilled in his work. In 2009 Sean was appointed Group CFO of Aspen, the leading pharmaceuticals manufacturer in the Southern hemisphere as well as Africa’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturer. The company was listed on the JSE Ltd in 1998 and is included in its Top 40 Index. The Aspen Group has almost 6500 employees, of which nearly 3000 are based in South Africa. The Aspen Group has a presence in South Africa, Australia, Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela, Ireland, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Mauritius, Dubai, Germany and Hong Kong.

Tryphosa Ramano - CFO PPC: `Always be up to date on risk management`

“In the past companies never forecasted on corporate governance – now with the financial crisis people realize that forecasting is key.” A lot has changed for the modern CFO, according to Tryphosa Ramano, CFO of PPC; leading supplier of cement in southern Africa. Tryphosa qualified as a Chartered Accountant (SA) in 1994 and since then has gained experience working in a number of organisations including: Price Waterhouse Coopers, JCI, RMB Asset Managers, National Treasury, SAA and WIPHOLD.

Nkosemntu Nika - CFO PetroSA: `I love how my job is not routine`

PetroSA is South Africa's national oil company. It owns, operates and manages South Africa's petroleum industry commercial assets. The company was formed in January 2002 from the merger of three previous entities, Mossgas (Pty) Limited, Soekor (Pty) Limited, and parts of the Strategic Fuel Fund Association.

Christine Ramon - CFO Sasol: `Becoming a skeptic but value-adding agent of change`

“An orderly outcome to the European problems is likely to see the slow and unbalanced economic recovery continue, while a disorderly outcome could easily result in the world slipping back into recession. This uncertainty complicates any company’s business planning and Sasol is no exception.” Says Christine Ramon, CFO of Sasol Limited, one of South Africa's largest companies involved in mining, energy, chemicals and synfuels.

Gerhard Malan - CFO Rectron: `Did South African companies miss the boat?`

“Did South African companies miss the boat by not exploring the rest of Africa sooner?” wonders Gerhard Malan, CFO of Rectron, one of South Africa’s leading ICT distributors. “I believe South Africa is its own worst enemy when it comes to growth and expansion. It seems like this is the decade for emerging markets but South Africa is missing out.”

Jo Pohl - CFO Ubank: `CFO needs to adapt a far more pro-active and predictive approach`

Ubank (previously Teba Bank) appointed Jo-Ann Pohl to its Board as Chief Financial Officer in June 2007. Prior to her appointment, Jo – as she prefers to be called – who is a qualified chartered accountant was at Barclays Africa where she began as a Corporate Merchant Banking and Treasury Performance Consultant for Africa and the Middle East and then moved back into finance as a Regional Financial Controller before being promoted to Head of Finance for the Pan-African business. Ubank is the 9th largest Bank by assets with deposits of over R3bn and has become a well-recognised banking brand in the country.

Wayne van Houten - CFO Esorfranki: `Work hard, believe in yourself and be patient`

Information technology will form an important part of the future role of the CFO in South Africa. That is what Wayne van Houten, CFO of Esorfranki, replies when asked how the role of the CFO of the future will change over the next decade. “Use of information technology for financial reporting, compliance and market intelligence will also play a greater role and will bring enhanced efficiency into our business environment.”

Van Zyl Botha - CFO Randgold & Exploration: `South Africa does not seize its opportunities`

“Africa is full of opportunities and although South African companies are best located to do so, we are not seizing those opportunities.” Van Zyl Botha (31) is one of the youngest CFOs we had the pleasure of interviewing. Despite his young age, he has a great vision on how a modern CFO should ensure the long term financial sustainability of an enterprise.

Bennie van Rooy - CFO JD Group: `Strategic targets will be broken down into components`

JD Group wants to “to be world-class in our fields of expertise”. It is strategically positioned in Southern Africa as a leading diversified mass consumer financier and a differentiated furniture, appliance, electronic goods, home entertainment and office automation retailer. The Group primarily targets the mass middle market with a secondary focus on the top and bottom end market segments. The Group operates 1138 stores across Southern Africa and Poland. JD Group was listed on Johannesburg Stock Exchange in 1986 and has a yearly turnover of R15.7bn, made possible by over 25.000 staff members.

Tyrone Soondarjee - CFO Sasfin Bank: `Use your position to improve quality decision matters in defining the future of a company`

Supplement your qualifications with solid practical experience and ensure continuous professional development to stay relevant in a fast changing global economy. That is the vital advice given to you by Tyrone Soondarjee, CFO of Sasfin Bank, when asked what vital piece of advice he would give ambitious finance professionals who 'want to make it big' in the industry. Like himself, in a way.

Peter Duffy - CFO 1time: `Budgeting and forecasting are still key aspects of the financial role`

1time Holdings - a diversified aviation group - was listed on the Johannesburg Altex Stock Exchange on the 14th of August 2007. The company has evolved in leaps and bounds since its inception in 2004 and is the 100% shareholder in 1time Airline, 1time Charters, Aeronexus Technical and Aeronexus Corporate. Many people wonder what the name of the company reflects – well, here it is. The name 1time, is a reflection of the South African soul of the company. In South Africa, the phrase "one time!" is a colloquialism meaning "for real!" Within six years of existence, 1time grew from a 4-man company to a JSE-listed one, staffing over 600 employees and a yearly turnover of R1,2 billion.

Garth Saunders - CFO SAB Miller: `As a modern leader you need to lead by example`

CFO South Africa had the pleasure of interviewing a large number of CFOs of leading South African companies. Today we meet Garth Saunders, CFO of SAB Miller, South Africa’s premier brewer and leading distributor of beer and soft drinks. The company operates seven breweries and 40 depots in South Africa with an annual brewing capacity of 3.1 billion liters. The company has a yearly turnover of R40bn, including a R7bn profit.

Paul Prinsloo - CFO PwC South Africa: `Keeping financial operations at the highest standard is vital`

The role of the CFO has changed from scorekeeper, care talker and treasurer to strategic business partner, communicator, financier, finance operator, compliance steward, run rate monitor, talent manager, financial envoy. These are the words of wisdome spoken by Paul Prinsloo, CFO of PwC South Africa, South Africa’s office of the world's largest professional services firm. PwC South Africa staffs over 4,200 people nationwide, of which 100 employees in the financial department. The firm locally has a turnover of more than R3 billion per annum.

Lawrence Weitzman - CFO Business Connexion: `Today's CFO is much more of a business partner than the gate keeper`

CFO South Africa interviewed a large number of CFOs and CEOs of leading South African companies. This time we get to talk to Lawrence Weitzman, CFO of Business Connexion, Africa’s leading ICT Solutions provider. Business Connexion is a JSE-listed company employing about 6500 people. Lawrence is responsible for the finance and commercial departments, staffing about 200 people. BCX will have revenue of R6bn in 2012 at a 6% operating margin.

Iain Bennie - CFO Stanlib: `Cash is King!`

Stanlib is the largest unit trust manager in the country and one of the leading asset and wealth managers in South Africa and emerging markets. The company is based in Johannesburg and has a footprint in seven African countries. The company was formed in 2002 when Liberty and Standard Bank’s asset management and wealth businesses merged. It is the biggest unit trust company in South Africa, managing assets for over 350,000 clients and employing almost 550 employees directly. We had the honor of enjoying a one-on-one with Iain Bennie, CFO of Stanlib.

Chris Beukman - CFO Deloitte: `Good people skills are a necessary requirement to be successful`

CFO South Africa interviewed a large number of CFOs and CEOs of leading South African companies. Meet Mr. Chris Beukman, CFO of Deloitte, one of South Africa’s leading professional services firms staffing over 3700 employees. Chris matriculated in 1968 in Pretoria and completed BCom (Acc) (Hons) at University of Pretoria in 1973. He joined Pretoria based accounting practise Van Geusau, Coetzee & De Wit as a trainee accountant in 1973 and was qualified as Chartered Accountant (CA(SA)) in 1975. In 1978 he was appointed as a partner in the above practise, which was eventually incorporated into Deloitte & Touche through a series of mergers.

Norman Thomson - CFO Woolworths: `Courage and integrity are key characteristics`

CFO South Africa interviewed a large number of CFOs and CEOs of leading South African companies. Meet Norman Thomson, CFO of Woolworths, one of South Africa’s largest chain of retail stores. Woolworths staffs 18000 people, of which 240 at the financial department of the Johannesburg based head office. Woolworths currently has a yearly turnover of R25.8bn and makes R2.3bn profit before tax (pbt). After having completed a B Com at Rhodes University, Norman pursued a Certificate in the Theory of Accounting (CTA) at the University of the Witwatersrand. After serving in one or two roles as Finance Manager and Finance Director of a Woolworths group subsidiary, Norman moved into the world of Logistics and Supply Chain Management. It was in this capacity that he joined Woolworths 20 years ago, to make a comeback into the world of finance only a decade later, when he was appointed Finance Director of Woolworths ten years ago.

Alex Smith - CFO Altron: "Yes You Can"

CFO South Africa has interviewed a large number of CFOs and CEOs of leading South African companies. Meet Alex Smith, CFO of Altron, a large South African investment holding company. Altron currently staffs around 13.000 people, and has a turnover of R23 billion. Alex joined Altron in 2006 and appointed to the CFO role in August 2008. Scottish Alex was trained as a CA in Edinburgh, Scotland with Price Waterhouse, after having done a law degree at Edinburgh University. He came out to South Africa on a two year secondment in 1995 and “never looked back!” He worked for PwC in South Africa through to 2005, spending eight years in their transaction services department doing a wide range of financial due diligences, before moving to Altron at the beginning of 2006 as Group Financial Manager.

Bruce Sneddon - CFO Auction Alliance: `Finance will only be one part of the role of the future CFO`

CFO South Africa has interviewed a large number of CFOs and CEOs of leading South African companies. Next in our series is Bruce Sneddon, CFO of Auction Alliance, one of South Africa’s leading auction services groups, staffing 175 people and a turnover of R300m. Bruce joined Auction Alliance in his capacity as Chief Financial Officer in December 2009. As a qualified Chartered Accountant, Mr. Sneddon completed both his under- and post-graduate studies at UCT, followed by his articles at Deloitte. Prior to his position at Alliance Group, Bruce acted as CFO at Integer, Finance Executive at Truworths, CEO and former Group Financial Director at Appleton, as well as being Group Accountant for Norwich Holdings. 1. What do you enjoy most about your job?

Paul O'Flaherty - CFO Eskom: `Companies have great strategies but fail in executing them appropriately`

CFO South Africa is interviewing a large number of CFOs and CEOs of leading South African companies. From now on, we will publish them on our site regularly. Next in our series is Mr. Paul O’Flaherty, CFO of Eskom, a company staffing 42,000 people, which he joined in January 2010. He was appointed to the Board as executive director responsible for the finance function overseeing nearly 3.000 employers in the finance and shared services departments.

Cullen Penny - CFO of STBB: `Cash flow will remain critical`

CFO South Africa is interviewing a large number of CFOs and CEOs of leading South African companies. From now on, we will publish them on our site regularly. The second in our series is Cullen Penny, CFO of STBB (Smith Tabata Buchanan Boyes). Cullen Penny is the financial director of the law firm STBB, a company he joined in 2007.

Interviewing CFO.co.za

Soon this section will feature various Q&A’s with leading CFOs and Managing Directors of South African Industry. In the mean time, let us take the opportunity to introduce one of our editors by means of a similar Q&A, allowing her to introduce both herself and this brand new website.

 

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