Page 1


Public service calling Treasury director Yvonne Soglo

Hennie Nel Santam CFO Chasing challenges Aneshree Naidoo Deloitte Consulting Africa CFO The art of integration

Wrangling risk In Covid-19 & beyond CFO Cares Rivasha Maharaj Coaching with care

Anton de Bruyn Shoprite CFO Leading in interesting times


Harmony FD Boipelo Lekubo Seizing golden opportunities

Compatible at home & at work



BOOK YOUR TEST DRIVE TODAY The new Land Rover Defender doesn’t just have the strength, it has the intelligence. Inside that muscular body is an incredible brain. With technology built around a smartphone-like interface, it’s completely intuitive. Always on, ready for work immediately. And the all-new infotainment system, Pivi Pro, provides a seamless, streamlined experience. Defender. An icon in a category of one. Fleet and Business Jaguar Land Rover South Africa and Sub-Sahara +27 (0)12 450 4175 | pmabuza@jaguarlandrover.com landrover.co.za/fleetandbusiness


Executive partners:

Associate partners:

CFO South Africa is the organisation for finance executives in South Africa. Our goal is to connect finance professionals online and off in order to share knowledge, exchange interests and open up business opportunities. CFO Enterprises (Pty) Ltd 1 Wedgewood Link, Bryanston, Johannesburg, 2191, South Africa. | +27 11 083 7515 | CFO.co.za © 2020 CFO Enterprises (Pty) Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. MANAGING DIRECTOR



Joël Roerig jroerig@cfo.co.za +27 76 371 2858

John Deane jdeane@cfo.co.za +27 81 487 1156

Lizelle Furter, Patrick Furter



Narissa Subramoney, Puseletso Mompei, Victoria Williams

Georgina Guedes gguedes@cfo.co.za +27 83 651 2789

Tamara Bell tbell@cfo.co.za +27 81 387 2477




Caylynne Fourie cfourie@cfo.co.za +27 61 458 9746

Elizabeth Ferraris PROOFREADING Toni Muir




Novus Print Peter Wilding peter.wilding@paarlmedia.co.za +27 11 201 3400

Community 6 8 14 64 68 76 78 82

From the editor-in-chief Movers: CFOs in new roles facing Covid-19 CFO Awards: Celebrating world-class excellence in finance, virtually Insight into finance’s most pressing concerns Finance in the family UCT executive FD Ashley Francis making memories during lockdown The good, the bad, and the ugly of lockdown From the MD

Growth 18 24


Harmony’s Boipelo Lekubo seizing golden opportunities Shoprite’s Anton de Bruyn: May you lead in interesting times

Tech 30 32

CFO South Africa online summit: Respond, recover, thrive Coupa’s Todd Ford reveals Big data benefits to supply chains

People 36 40

Rivasha Maharaj's privilege of coaching Deloitte Consulting’s Aneshree Naidoo on leadership during a global pandemic

Leadership 44 48

Santam’s Hennie Nel on chasing life’s challenges Hatch Africa’s Craig Sumption discusses lifelong leadership

Risk & Compliance 52 60

Special feature: Wrangling risk in Covid-19 and beyond National Treasury’s Yvonne Soglo has a calling for public service






The ups and downs of lockdown


s we were finalising this edition of CFO Magazine, South Africa was upgraded to Level 2 lockdown, and alcohol and cigarette sales were permitted once more. While this was a welcome relief for many businesses who have been confronted with limited opportunities to generate revenue, South African citizens remain cautious about too much interaction, and the economic outlook remains bleak. While we’re celebrating the landmarks along the way, we South Africans have a lot of work cut out for us as we rebuild our country after this terrible pandemic. However, there are some companies that have weathered the lockdown period better than others, and we’ve spoken to the CFOs of a few such companies in this issue to get a sense of what resilience looks like in these tough times. The first is our cover star, Boipelo Lekubo, Harmony Gold’s CFO. Harmony is obviously bolstered by the great performance of gold during the Covid-19 crisis, but a number of strategies that the company has put in place are also starting to bear fruit. Boipelo told us all about it in the article on page 18. Next up is Anton de Bruyn, the CFO of Shoprite, a food retailer operating in the essential services space, with a mix of brands that appeal to the cost-conscious customer. He started laying the groundwork for success when he took on the CFO role two years ago, and when the current crisis struck, the company was in a healthy position to make good decisions. Read all about it on page 24.



Craig Sumption, the director of finance at engineering firm Hatch, says that the company has been fortunate to have a number of long-term projects in the works, but no company can rest on its laurels. He has also been very focused on the energy levels and positive interactions in his team, and has been finding creative ways to keep them engaged. You can find out how he’s doing that on page 48. We at CFO South Africa have also been looking for creative ways to keep our communities engaged, and we have been very busy with our weekly CFO Community Conversations, in which finance executives can meet online to share their struggles and solutions with likeminded associates. We’ve also started delivering insightful webinars as a part of our recently launched Finance Indaba Networks – a fantastic new initiative that spring-boarded off our annual Finance Indaba, but aims to engage the finance community all year around with interactive content and captivating events. Find out more on page 12. While there remains cause for concern about the coming months and years, there are nuggets of optimism to be found as well. I wish you all the best in finding these in your own professional space, and in building your business upon them. All the best, and stay safe! Georgina Guedes Editor-in-chief gguedes@cfo.co.za +27 83 651 2789


CFOS READY TO TAKE ON THE CHALLENGES OF COVID-19 IN THEIR NEW ROLES Despite challenging times due to Covid-19, some CFOs have stepped into new roles while others have opted to take some time out. rience. He has a B.Compt degree in accounting and auditing from UNISA.

Markos Davias

Markos Davias has been appointed as the CFO of FNB South Africa. Markos has been with RMB for 12 years. He was appointed as head of finance for global markets in 2008. Later that same year he was appointed as the CFO of RMB’s investment banking division. In 2014 he was appointed as head of finance before being appointed as CFO in 2015. Markos obtained a B.Com honours degree in accounting and finance from the University of Johannesburg. Vodacom Group has appointed Sitho Mdlalose as interim group CFO as of 1 July. Sitho has taken over from Till Streichert, who left the company on 30 June to pursue another opportunity. Sitho was appointed as executive director of finance at Vodacom South Africa in 2017, having been CFO of Vodacom International Business since 2014. Sitho has over 20 years’ finance, management and consulting expe-



Tiger Brands has appointed Deepa Sita as its new CFO as of 1 October. She will be taking over from Pamela Padayachee, who served as acting CFO from 1 February after former CFO Noel Doyle stepped into the CEO role. Deepa is a qualified CA(SA) and has an MBA (Cum Laude) from GIBS. She has left her role as Massmart Wholesale vice president of integration and strategy to pursue the new role at Tiger Brands. Adcorp Holdings has appointed Noel Prendergast as its interim CFO on 1 July following the resignation of CFO Cheryl-Jane Kujenga (CJ) to take a sabbatical while she “rejuvenates and explores other opportunities”. Noel is a qualified CA(SA) and has previously held executive positions at Wings Travel Management, Clientele and Guma. Clinix Health Group’s Elisa Mkhize

Noel Prendergast

Elisa Mkhize

has resigned as CFO as of 1 August, stating that her decision was well thought through as she embarks on the next chapter of her career, seeking growth and a broader scope. Elisa joined Clinix Health Group in October 2016, at a time when the business was under serious financial distress. For her work at Clinix Health Group, Elisa has been nominated for the 2020 CFO Awards. AngloGold Ashanti CFO Christine Ramon has been appointed as interim CEO following the resignation of Kelvin Dushnisky. Christine, the 2018 CFO of the Year Award winner, has been with AngloGold Ashanti since 2014. She has previously held senior financial management and executive positions in various companies, in particular as CFO and executive director of Sasol from 2006 to 2013. Prior to this, she was CEO of Johnnic Holdings, having previously served as its financial director.

Andri Bezuidenhout tasked with steering GWK as new FD Agriculture company GWK’s head of corporate finance Andri Bezuidenhout has been appointed as the group’s FD as of 1 June. What are you looking forward to in the new role? I am really looking forward to steering the group in this period of uncertainty and making use of opportunities as they arise. What will your focus areas be as FD? My focus will still remain on operating an efficient and effective finance team and building a strong partnership with the CEO, other leaders and stakeholders. For the first few months I will be focusing on regular communication to GWK’s critical stakeholders to put them at ease during this

Tsundzukani (Tsu) Mhlanga moved on from her role as the group executive director of finance and administration of Italtile on 30 June to pursue other interests. A 2020 CFO Awards nominee, Tsu was appointed to her role in May 2018. She is a qualified CA(SA) with an MBA from the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business. Brandon Wood, former CFO and current executive director of retail at Italtile, has stepped into Tsu’s role until her successor is appointed. Hajra Karrim has been appointed as the CFO of Oceana Group with effect from 1 November. She takes over from Trevor Giles, who has served

Jowayne van Wyk

period, simplify processes, assist the team to align the business and finance strategy to grow the business and ensure that IT, as an enabler plays a more significant role in the execution of the various strategies of the business. How has it been joining a business during Covid-19? Covid-19 has brought unique challenges but GWK was fortunate to be classified as an essential service and continue with its operations. My immediate focus is still to look after my staff, to be more sensitive to what people are feeling and helping them through this time. Regular communication is critical to steer the team, ensuring that we meet all required deadlines and key deliverables. l

as interim CFO since February, and will return to his role as group executive of business development at the end of October. Hajra is a qualified CA(SA) and holds a B.Com honours degree from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She has held a number of executive positions, including CFO of TransUnion Africa Group and M-Net. African Equity Empowerment Investments (AEEI) has appointed Jowayne van Wyk as its new CFO as of 1 August. Jowayne takes over from exiting Chantelle Ah Sing, who resigned on 31 July. Chantelle has chosen to pursue her higher education and other personal interests. Prior to the appointment, Jowayne served as a non-executive director of AEEI and chairman of its audit and risk committee. Jowayne is a qualified CA(SA) and holds a SAICA independent reviewer certificate. PPC has appointed Ronel van Dijk as its permanent CFO. She has been serving as interim CFO since 1 November 2019, following the resignation of Tryphosa Ramano. Ronel qualified as a CA(SA) in December 1997 and spent a year working in the London office of Arthur Anderson & Co. After returning to Cape Town, she joined Spur Corporation and

Andri Bezuidenhout

filled the role of CFO and COO. She left Spur in March 2018 and was appointed as a non-executive director and audit and risk committee member of GPI and Adcorp Holdings in December 2018 and June 2019 respectively. About her appointment, Ronel said: “I have been enjoy-

ing the challenge of understanding how a cement and materials company operates in different African jurisdictions. It is certainly very different from my Spur days and thus a great learning experience.” Nakedi Ramaphakela will be taking some time off, having stepped down from her role as Masimong Group Holdings CFO and executive

Tsu Mhlanga




Ronel van Dijk

director. She joined Masimong in January 2019 from Royal Bafokeng Holdings (RBH). “I was at RBH for almost seven years and it felt like home,” she said at the time of her appointment. “I, however, need to build a diverse career with enough depth and varied exposure.” Nakedi holds both CA(SA) and CFA qualifications and has extensive experience in finance, tax and investment management. She was nominated for the 2019 CFO Awards for her role at RBH. Sea Harvest Group has appointed its chief investment officer Muhammad Brey as CFO as of 1 May 2020. This follows the resignation of John Paul de Freitas to pursue personal interests. John agreed to work his notice period of three months during which he did a formal handover to Muhammad. Mondi Group has appointed Mike Powell as its new group CFO and executive director. He succeeds Andrew King, who was appointed as the company’s CEO in April. About his appointment, Mike said: “I am

excited to be joining Mondi as CFO and look forward to working with Andrew, the board and Mondi colleagues to continue to develop and grow the business, delivering Mondi’s strategy and helping to ensure its long-term sustainable future.” Mike has a B.Sc in computer science and accounting from the University of Manchester and is an associate of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.



Equites Property Fund has announced the appointment of Laila Razack as its new CFO with immediate effect. Laila has been the interim CFO of Equites since 12 December 2019. According to a statement by the group, during this period, the board followed an extensive external and internal recruitment process with the assistance of an international recruitment consultancy. Laila emerged from this process as the leading candidate. She graduated with a B.Sc in finance and accounting, along with a postgraduate diploma in accounting, both at the University of Cape Town. Jenna Sprenger has stepped down as CFO of Investec Property Fund to spend more time with her young family. She has taken on the role of heading up treasury and balance sheet management. She will remain in the CFO role until an appropriate replacement has been appointed. Jenna joined the fund in August 2014 and subsequently formed part of its executive management team. She was appointed as the CFO in December 2018. Prior to this, Jenna was a financial manager at Annuity Properties. Kieron Futter has resigned as the CFO of Ascendis Health with effect from 30 September. Kieron has over 20 years' experience in financial management across a range of industries. He joined Ascendis Health in September 2015. Unicorn Capital Partners has appointed Catherine Wolmarans as acting CFO as of 30 June. Her appointment follows the resignation of executive FD Johann Lemmer to pursue an international career. Prior to the appointment, Catherine served as group treasurer of Sentula Mining. PBT Group has appointed Bianca Pieters as its new CFO. Bianca is a qualified CA(SA) and joined PBT in 2020 as the group accountant and company secretary when the company listed on the JSE. She has been responsible for all financial functions of the group under former CFO

Murray Louw’s leadership. Bianca’s appointment follows the joint resignation of Pierre de Wet as CEO and Murray as CFO. UK-headquartered De Beers Group has appointed Sarah Kuijlaars as its new CFO as of 1 September. About her appointment, Sarah said: “I’m

very pleased to be joining De Beers Group and the diamond industry. I look forward to working with the leadership team and colleagues and partners around the world to help deliver the company’s strategy.” Sarah takes over from Nimesh Patel, who resigned on 2 April and left the group on 26 July. Standard Chartered has appointed Subhradeep Mohanty as the new CFO of its Africa and Middle East (AME) region. Subhradeep has over 19 years’ experience in the banking sector to the AME region. Most recently, he was the CFO for Standard Chartered Bank’s India franchise, where he helped drive the country’s strategic transformation and performance. Prior to this, he was the global CFO of retail banking at Standard Chartered. Before joining Standard Chartered, Subhradeep held various senior roles at JP Morgan in Asia, and at American Express, in strategy, finance and business transformation across a diverse set of markets. Botswana-based Letshego Holdings has appointed South African Gwen Muteiwa as its new group CFO. Gwen has over 20 years of experi-

Jenna Sprenger

ence in banking. She joins Letshego from ABC Holdings, where she spent 12 years serving as group CFO, CFO for Zimbabwe and group head of finance transformation respectively. Gwen completed her B.Comm accounting degree at Rhodes University. She holds a CTA and honours in accounting science, both from the UNISA. TIP Trailer Services has appointed Johannes (Hans) van Lierop as CFO and management board member. Hans is now based in TIP’s international headquarters in Amsterdam where he has taken over from interim CFO Simon Glass, who left TIP at the end of May. About his appointment, Hans says: “I am

looking forward to joining TIP’s senior leadership team and leading its finance organisation and look forward to contributing to TIP’s

Nakedi Ramaphakela

future success.” Hans completed his articles with EY and graduated from the University of Amsterdam in 1997 as a registered accountant, the equivalent of a CA. Hans joined TIP from Massmart, where he was the CFO. Israel-based A2Z Technologies Canada Corporation has announced the appointment of South African born, raised and educated Gadi Levin as CFO of the company and its subsidiaries. Gadi takes over from former CFO Robert Chisholm. Gadi has over 20 years of experience in finance, including executive positions and directorships with several publicly listed companies on Canadian, USA and London stock exchanges. He is a qualified CA(SA) and has an MBA from Bar Ilan University in Israel. Transnet has appointed former IDC CFO Nonkululeko Dlamini as its new group CFO. She took over from Mohammed Mahomedy, who served as the acting finance head for over four months. Nonkululeko had previously served as the IDC’s CFO for five years. Gert Gouws has now been appointed as the IDC’s new acting CFO for a period of three months. Gert has been with the IDC for over 35 years, serving in various roles, including the role of CFO for many years. For her work at the IDC, Nonkululeko was nominated for the 2019 CFO Awards and won the Public Sector CFO of the Year Award.

Nonkululeko Dlamini

The Gauteng Health Department has announced the appointment of Mphume Llale as acting CFO. Mphume’s appointment follows the resignation of Kabelo Lehloenya at the end of May, who cited personal reasons in her resignation letter. The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) has appointed Krishna Govender as acting CFO. He has taken over from Lesibana Fosu, who had been appointed as the agency’s CFO in September 2019. Krishna is a qualified CA(SA) with almost 25 years’ experience in accounting and financial management in both the public and private sectors. He currently serves as part of the technical advisory team, as well as chairperson of the revenue enhancement and cost containment subcommittee of the PRASA group executive committee. l

Former GWK FD Johan Geel rejoins Afgri as COO On 1 May, former GWK FD Johan Geel rejoined Afgri, where he now serves as COO. He had left Afgri as group FD in January 2018. This is not the first time Johan finds himself in the COO role at Afgri. In 2009, he also served as COO until 2012 before being appointed group FD. Johan was a CFO Awards 2016 and 2017 nominee for his work as the group FD of Afgri. How does it feel to be back at Afgri? It is a great privilege to be back at Afgri. The Afgri environment has changed since I left, but I am looking forward to the new challenges

in a changing global environment with things like Covid-19. What will your focus areas be as COO? I will review the current company structures with a focus on cost. Why do you think the company structures need to be reviewed? We need to get back to basics and focus on what is important and what will make a difference for the new future of the agri and foods environment. l

Johan Geel




LAUNCH EVENT Accelerate your knowledge, network & career by joining 5,000+ finance colleagues for a world-class, gamified launch day on:

VIRTUAL CONFERENCE & EXPO • 5,000 Finance Professionals • 10 Impact Sessions with world-class speakers • Spectacular expo with leading tools & services • Full-day gamified event • Exciting scavenger hunts and incredible prizes

YOUR INDABA IS YOUR NETWORK A true community platform for finance professionals. Benefits include weekly webinars with content matter experts and finance leaders, regular Network Conversations and a trusted environment where finance professionals can ask questions, share thoughts and make professional connections. Registrants for the Finance Indaba Network launch event will automatically gain entry to the Network.

Registration is FREE for all finance professionals.

Join world-class webinars weekly. Find out more on Finance-Indaba.co.za.

Masenya Mongalo,

Nollie Mahlangeni,

Hestè Jacobs,

“Great session, so informative and the learning power is so appreciated.”

“Very insightful. Thank you to our panel.”

“Was great, thank you! I learnt a lot!”

Professional Accountant (SA) / Professional Finance Government Officer

Forensic and Financial Crime specialist at Nedbank

CFO at FNB SA Private Wealth

For more information contact: John Deane: jdeane@cfo.co.za | +27 81 487 1156 Tamara Bell: tbell@cfo.co.za | +27 81 387 2477


SS2208 - CFOSA_CFO Magazine Advert (CFO Awards 210*275mm).pdf



3:19 PM

This evening was sponsored by Deloitte, SAP Concur, Clarkhouse Human Capital, Coupa, Jaguar Land Rover (JLRSA), Workday, and Standard Bank.




CFO Awards judge Victor Sekese, biomimicry expert Claire Janisch and comedian Nik Rabinowitz relieved Covid-19 tensions on the night that the CFO Awards were supposed to have taken place.


efore Covid-19 hit South Africa, and threw businesses into turmoil, the CFO Awards were scheduled for 14 May. Instead of the glittering ceremony, on that date, CFO South Africa hosted an awards-themed online Community Conversation to celebrate those who have been nominated for this year’s top prizes. That evening, the focus shifted away from the gloom and doom surrounding the national lockdown, to a lighthearted celebration of world-class excellence in the finance profession. CFO Enterprises MD Joël Roerig kicked off the ceremony by playing a short video showcasing all the CFOs that had been nominated [see sidebar]. Victor Sekese, CEO of SNG Grant Thornton then shared his experience of being a CFO Awards judge since its inception in 2014. “The panel of judges is diverse, which makes it an exciting process because it means there are different perspectives from which one can learn. It’s challenging but also personally fulfilling, not the least of which is due to the calibre of candidates that are nominated to partake in the awards. Generally, when you speak to the candidates, almost all of them are personally committed to developing talent,” said Victor, referring to an image of 2018 CFO of the Year Christine Ramon alongside Meroonisha Kerber when she scooped the honours. Meroonisha was Christine’s second-in-command at the time and went on to become the CFO at Impala Platinum shortly thereafter. “So, watching that kind of growth within the finance profession… it gives me a great sense of pride and fulfilment to have played the role I have in this community.”

The 2020 CFO Awards nominees are •

Angela Pillay, FD at Sasfin

Ashley Francis, CFO at UCT

Bernardt van der Linde, FD at Curro Holdings

Bryan Groome, FD at Verimark

Cheryl-Jane Kujenga, former CFO at Adcorp Holdings

Dion Mhlaba, CFO at RH Bophelo

Dorette Neethling, CFO at Adcock Ingram Holdings

Elisa Mkhize, former CFO at Clinix Health Group

Euan McNeil, CFO of MEA at Flight Centre Travel Group

Innocent Gumbochuma, CFO at QCTO

Jason Quinn, group FD at Absa Group

Keith Gibson, group CFO at Netcare

Mark Godfrey, CFO at Spar

Narriman Taliep, finance executive at V&A Waterfront

Nishlan Samujh, group CFO at Investec

Norman Basthdaw, CFO at Sun International

Rhett Finch, former CFO, now deputy CEO at King Price Insurance

Riaan Koppeschaar, CFO at Exxaro Resources

Risto Ketola, group FD at Momentum Metropolitan Holdings

Rivasha Maharaj, CFO at Afgri Group Holdings

Shabeer Khan, CFO at the DTI

Ted Willcox, CFO at PepsiCo SSA

Tsholofelo Molefe, CFO at Telkom

Tsundzukani Mhlanga, fomer executive director of group finance at Italtile

Xolani Mbambo, CFO at Grindrod




SS2208 - CFOSA_CFO Magazine Advert (CFO Awards 210*275mm).pdf



3:19 PM









Intro to biomimicry Claire Janisch from Biomimicry South Africa then delivered a riveting presentation about biomimicry, which can be loosely defined as the design of solutions, systems, and new technologies as inspired by nature. “We need to move away from thinking about organisations as siloes to thinking of them as large organisms that mimic eco-systems in nature so that they can grow and thrive organically,” said Claire. “Ants, for example, have been around for millions of years and have a capacity for resilience that we simply do not have as humans, and we need to learn that ability to adapt.”

Attendees then went into breakout rooms to reflect on Claire’s presentation and ideas around how best to implement some of the principles that she had spoken about in their organisations.

Takeaways University of Cape Town executive finance director Ashley Francis said he had always had a fascination with ants.

By way of an example, she referred to the work of Master’s graduate Tharalelo Mokgokong, who redesigned the South African Post Office’s delivery system by emulating ant colonies.

Said Ashley: “Funny enough, we have had a massive infestation since the beginning of the lockdown. In trying to solve this mini-invasion, I have even been monitoring the movements of the ants that are seemingly invading my home... so I found Claire’s presentation particularly interesting. And the message received from Claire is that we must stop being stubborn as human beings and learn from the nature that surrounds us.”

She said the Waze app was similar in the way it applied biomimicry, leveraging the millions of input points of users. Waze recommends the best route for drivers to navigate traffic in crowded cities. Waze engineers studied how ants automatically calculate the best routes, through a phenomenon called stigmergy. They deposit a fine drop of pheromone on the ground whenever they emerge from an anthill, creating a highly scented path, which is also the most efficient, for other ants to follow.

Elisa Mkhize, fomer CFO at Clinix Group, loved the learnings around the concept of a decentralised network, reflecting particularly on what Claire had said about South Africa’s over-reliance on Eskom and how a better-distributed network “in which we could leverage mother nature for renewable energy, is low-hanging fruit to enable us to become more resilient as a society and move from being so beholden to a single power source.”l



WORLD-CLASS FINANCE IN ACTION Changing the world by leading the change in business.

25 NOVEMBER 2020 | THE POLO ROOM BOOK YOUR SEAT OR TABLE TODAY CFOAwards.co.za | John Deane - jdeane@cfo.co.za CFO MAGAZINE • CFO.CO.ZA


Photos: Patrick Furter




GOLDEN opportunities

Boipelo Lekubo was appointed as the financial director of Harmony Gold Mining Company in March this year. Although she’s young, she has a great deal of relevant internal and external experience under her belt, and has a vision for improving the mining sector in South Africa through life-saving technology, preferential procurement and mine rehabilitation. But March was an inauspicious time to kick off any new career move, and Boipelo first had to confront the challenges presented to a mining company by the Covid-19 pandemic. By Caylynne Fourie





s the financial director of Harmony, Boipelo Lekubo believes the financial health and wellbeing of the company is her first and foremost priority. “The role of the CFO/FD has changed so much in that it’s not the number crunching, reporting role that it used to be,” she said. “It’s more strategic.” Boipelo is responsible for supporting all aspects of business in terms of developing the company’s strategy and executing it. “We are always looking for opportunities to grow the company,” she said. “We’ve got a very dynamic, experienced, executive team that is always hungry for more opportunities to improve the company.” She has been involved in concluding Harmony’s acquisition of the last remaining assets of AngloGold Ashanti in South Africa. She’s also been working on a massive project in Papua New Guinea – a tier-one copper asset – where Harmony is in the process of securing a mining lease for the operation. Boipelo is passionate about driving Harmony’s strategy around preferential procurement. “We talk about how we always want to go beyond compliance, not because we have to, but because it’s a national imperative that we do that, this is a very strong drive within Harmony at the moment,” Boipelo said. Over the last two years, with the help of a consultant, she and her team have developed a strategy that she believes will yield very positive results within the next few years. One example of this is the recent launch of a 36-month incubation programme to empower youth and female-owned businesses in Harmony’s host communities.

Technology beyond financial reporting Boipelo is enthusiastic about the role that technology has to play at Harmony, not just in terms of supporting financial reporting. “We have rolled out what we call a ‘missing person locator’ across our South African operations, so we know exactly where each and every miner is at any point in time,” Boipelo said. “We are also able to track water and air temperatures in real time.” All of these initiatives increase the productivity and safety of the miners that work for Harmony. Whereas previously, after a mining incident, search and rescue teams would have to look and try and see where a person was, now they are able to pinpoint where exactly that person last was and target that specific area. Investing in these types of technologies is a complicated business, as Harmony operates in deep-level



“We talk about how we always want to go beyond compliance, not because we have to, but because it’s a national imperative.” underground mines. “It’s harder to fully automate deep-level underground mining due to the narrow reef ore bodies that we mine,” Boipelo said. “Open-pit mines are a lot easier to digitise and automate.” Boipelo has to ensure that Harmony’s investment in technology is balanced against the life of the mine to allow for a reasonable timeframe for a return on investment. “You wouldn’t necessarily invest so much technologically in the mines that have a lifespan of less than five years, other than in things that improve the safety and wellbeing of employees, such as the missing person locator.”

Every challenge is an opportunity At the start of Boipelo’s appointment to her new role, Covid-19 was not yet prevalent in South Africa, but with the virus looming on the country’s doorstep, the gold price environment had improved significantly, which was beneficial for Harmony as the company is highly geared towards the rand gold price. With companies like AngloGold Ashanti withdrawing from operating in South Africa, many are left wondering about the viability of gold mining in South Africa, but Boipelo believes this is not the end of the industry. “At Harmony we don’t shy away from South Africa,” she said. “We’ve been operating in the country for almost 70 years, this year being Harmony’s 70th anniversary.” In fact, most of Harmony’s mines were acquired from Anglo. “We operate a much leaner operating structure and also mine the shaft pillars where we can, thus increasing the life of mine of the operation, which is something that AngloGold Ashanti does not necessarily do. Having demonstrated this over the years has resulted in Harmony extending the life of the mines and creating a sustainable sector by creating and saving jobs, as well as sustaining mining communities.” Looking across Harmony’s portfolio, while there are some mines that will be coming to the end of their lifecycle in the next five years, there are a number that will still be operating for more than 10 years.

“At Harmony we don’t shy away from South Africa.”



Home life When she’s not spending time with her daughter, Boipelo plays golf, occasionally cycles and goes to the gym. “It can get demanding with travelling and work, but you make it work. I’m fortunate to have a great support system around me, which definitely makes a difference.” Boipelo completed the 21km Soweto half-marathon in 2019. She wasn’t a ‘runner’ at the beginning of the year, but by the end of the year she was running 21km races, which she considered a big achievement. “They say the bug just grabs you.”




“Each person, irrespective of their gender, brings their own unique skills to the boardroom table.” “The first full financial year (FY19) including Moab Khotsong in our portfolio resulted in 7,928 kilograms (254,891oz) of gold produced, contributing R745 million to our free cash flow and reducing the overall all-in-sustaining unit costs for the group.” Then the Covid-19 pandemic struck, and has had an unprecedented impact on South Africa’s society and economy. Along with many other organisations, Harmony was faced with the challenging task of sustaining lives and livelihoods throughout the lockdown period. Harmony’s operations are building up to full capacity following the temporary shutdown of mining operations nationally as part of the country’s lockdown in March 2020. Surface operations and Harmony’s Hidden Valley mine in Papua New Guinea continued to operate, however. Since the lifting of some lockdown regulations in South Africa in mid-April, there has been a safe and controlled return of employees to the mines. In the operational update, Harmony reported that its operating free cash flow margin more than doubled to 13 percent from 6 percent for the nine months ended 31 March 2019. This was due largely to a 21.6 percent increase in the average rand gold price received for the period to R704,65/kg. Operating free cash flow increased by more than 100 percent, from R1.3 billion to R3 billion.

Meeting the challenge of being a CFO Boipelo joined Harmony as CFO in 2017 before her promotion to her position as financial director. She has extensive experience in group financial management and reporting within the mining industry. Her previous positions include that of CFO of Atlatsa Resources Corporation and financial manager of Northam Platinum. She served as an independent non-executive director of Trans Hex Group from 2013 until 2017 and is currently an independent non-executive director of African Rainbow Capital and of UBI General Partner. She is a qualified CA(SA). Given the overwhelming male dominance of the mining industry, Boipelo shares her views on the challenges facing women in this space. “We should steer away from the male versus female argument. Each person, irrespective of their gender, brings their own unique skills to the boardroom table. As a leader, it is important to establish your voice within an organisa-

tion in a respectful but assertive manner.” People have often said that since Boipelo is so young, she has had to prove herself over time. “You always have to be on top of your game. There will be times that you are challenged merely because of a certain bias towards you and your experience. I believe I have handled that challenge quite well.” Given the dynamic nature of the mining industry, Boipelo maintains that such an environment calls for “visible and inclusive leadership”. In explaining her approach to dealing with the challenges she’s faced, Boipelo adds that it’s important to be able to provide the right leadership at the right time. “In this industry, you need to be able to adapt to changing situations. Situational leadership – matching your behaviour with the performance needs of individuals – has proven to be a useful tool to me in such an environment.”

Adding the ESG element Having been with Harmony for more than three years, Boipelo has seen the annual report evolve. “The ESG element has been introduced, so a lot of stakeholders are asking what we are doing environmentally, socially and in terms of governance.” Boipelo refers to Harmony’s rehabilitation programmes as an example of the company’s commitment to environmental management. “In the Free State, we have completely rehabilitated where we previously mined.” Harmony’s accelerated rehabilitation programme has resulted in the rehabilitation and backfilling of 45 shafts to date. Each operation’s environmental management programme includes closure commitments to expedite beneficial post-mining land use and promote sustainable community livelihoods. Harmony is also embarking on a 30 megawatt solar plant in the Free State that will reduce some of its load and dependency on a troubled Eskom. “With the stage six load shedding that we experienced in 2019, we couldn’t take any shifts down. So for two days we had no people underground. We lost about 80 to 90 kg of gold as a result. Irregular power supply is not only costly, but also unsafe”. While South Africa will still be feeling the fall-out from Covid-19 and its infrastructural challenges for many years to come, Harmony, with Boipelo in the finance hot seat, is well-positioned to weather challenges, forge its own destiny and seize opportunities. This company and its FD are geared for success. l






The apocryphal Chinese curse suggests, “May you live in interesting times.” For Shoprite CFO Anton de Bruyn, heading up finance in a 15-country African supermarket business, spanning nine industries, at the time of IFRS 16 implementation, with discontinued operations and hyperinflation, and then Covid-19 arriving, has been ‘interesting’ indeed. But he’d put in many of the hard yards before lockdown hit, and he says his team have supported him through it all. By Caylynne Fourie







he Covid-19 pandemic has forever changed the way companies operate. Over and above a heightened focus on ethical values, environmental impact and board effectiveness there has been a clear shift in focus on balance sheet strength, and in particular, cash flow generation since the outbreak started. In the intervening months, various companies have been raising capital to strengthen their balance sheet or settle debt, and the payment of dividends has been questioned by many boards. “The management of Shoprite has had to deal with many of these questions in the past months,” says Anton de Bruyn, who chatted to CFO Magazine about his appointment on 1 July 2018, and how his challenges in those early months prepared him for the crisis that lay ahead. He explains that the management team had focused on improving its reporting to its various stakeholders, and wanted to communicate the strategies that had been implemented since Pieter Engelbrecht, CEO of Shoprite, took over from Whitey Basson during 2017. “Shoprite is a big business and seeing the results of the changes was not something that was going to happen overnight,” says Anton, who adds that the positive outcome of these actions can be seen in their results for the half-year ended February 2020. “We can already see an improvement in working capital ratios and have given guidance on what we expect to see in our capital allocation for the year, which will impact our return on invested capital in the coming years.”

“I learnt that life will present challenges, and you can get through them and still succeed and be happy.” During the past 24 months, Anton’s tasked himself with matters important to Shoprite’s various stakeholders and, together with the management team, implemented measures to address the issues raised. As part of this process, changes were introduced to Shoprite’s remuneration policy and, working closely with Professor Shirley Zinn, who was chairperson of the remuneration committee during the 2019 financial year, the team managed to get a supporting vote



from its shareholders to implement the policy. Changes included a new long-term incentive scheme (LTI) and the introduction of a Malus and Clawback provision on the LTI.

Not business as usual Since March, Anton’s daily routine has had to incorporate managing the impact of Covid-19 on the business. “We have regular Covid-19 meetings with key personnel to manage the operations of the business with a particular focus on health and safety, security, and compliance in terms of the gazetted lockdown regulations. The situation is very fluid and requires constant decision making. We are the largest corporate employer in South Africa and the safety of our 141,452 employees across our group is of paramount importance.” He explains that their focus isn’t just on South Africa, it’s also on the 14 other countries in which Shoprite trades. “There’s a lot of various additional costs that you have to weigh up the whole time.” Shoprite’s liquor and furniture businesses remained closed for the initial weeks of lockdown. “We’ve had to do various scenario analyses around those businesses.” he says. Anton adds that another topical issue, which has been complicated by the pandemic, is the implementation of IFRS 16 and the accounting and disclosures that were required for the financial year ending June 2020. “We will need to educate investors what the impact is of the implemented standard on key measures like headline earnings per share and return on invested capital.” For Anton, work remains very busy despite the Covid19 restrictions. He is still working from the office two to three days a week. His wife, Zyla, who also works in the Shoprite Group on the Sixty60 Project, an on-demand one-hour grocery delivery service at Checkers, is more homebound. [You can read more about Anton and Zyla’s experience of working together in the ‘Finance in the family’ feature on page 68 – ed.] Shoprite started considering allowing people to work from home before Covid-19 and lockdown, but had various reasons why it wasn't implemented. “Now that we’re forced to do it, we’ve come to realise that it actually works extremely well,” Anton says. As an example, he refers to a public holiday during lockdown when his finance team had to make an urgent payment in Kenya. “Because our staff having ‘dongles’ to connect to the internet and banking plat-

“It actually is quite exciting in real life, I must say I love what I do and I think everybody around me does too.”

form from home, we could make the payment, whereas in the past we would have had to wait for the next working day.” He adds that, while everyone is talking about the new normal and speculates how things are going to look when they return to work, he can’t help to think back to the days of being an article clerk. “You followed a hotseat approach, where you didn’t really have a desk. You would just come in to do your timesheets and then go off to meet with clients. And we are currently sitting in the same situation.” “We have evaluated the teams in the finance community and concluded that in some cases, for example, the internal audit, tax and IFRS teams, can do a lot of work remotely and the dependency on office space will be reduced,” he explains, adding that online portals like Hangouts and Zoom have proven to work “fantastically”

and that the company plans to have its upcoming board and committee meetings digitally.

Covid-19 impact on the business Shoprite has various brands that cover different LSM categories and the sales trends in each of those brands has been a clear indicator of the market’s reaction to Covid-19. Referring to the company’s results presentations in February, Anton says that Checkers had been performing well. However, as people are faced with reduced salaries and retrenchments due to Covid-19, the Usaves, which is the low-cost limited assortment discount chain, will play an important role in the retail market in South Africa. “Our strategies are based on the performance of the various brands and we are formed around the different brands in those different LSM brackets and each




“While the whole country stayed home our people had to find a way to get to work. We are really very proud of the company and its resilience.”



will perform according to the spending power of the customer.” There are, however, a lot of additional costs during this time. “We’ve all seen the videos on looting taking place, so obviously there’s an amount of additional costs coming into the business from a security point of view.” In keeping up with Covid-19 health regulations, Shoprite has had to provide its over 140,000 employees with protective equipment, and equip their portfolio of stores with sanitisers and thermometers. The company has also had to appoint compliance officers in each of their stores to deal with the increasing regulations. Despite these precautionary methods, some staff members have tested positive for Covid-19. “We have mobile clinics across the country that go to our stores and perform screenings and ensure the safety of our staff,” Anton says. He explains that there is a checklist of tasks to perform if a case is reported. “We then go through a whole process of cleaning and sanitising the store before the store can open again to trade.” “Our staff and their health and safety is of paramount importance.” Anton says. “That’s why we paid the appreciation bonus of R116 million to our employees as level 5 lockdown began. It was to thank and support them for their tireless efforts to feed the nation in these unprecedented times. We were the first in the country to do that because we acknowledged the role that our staff would have to play. While the whole country stayed home our people had to find a way to get to work. We are really very proud of the company and its resilience, which is part of our culture here at Shoprite. ” From a cash flow point of view, Anton says that there has been a slowdown when you consider the company’s rate of capital expenditure. “There were no building activities taking place during level 4 and 5 of lockdown and the spend in the information technology space has reduced. Even though we keep delivering on the projects that were in the pipeline, the spend has definitely reduced.” Shoprite, through the use of external consultants, was also fortunate to see what was happening in other countries that were ahead of South Africa’s infection curve. “Consultants were communicating how they’ve seen retail develop in Italy, France, China and Australia as Covid-19 hit their countries, and we were able to adapt and anticipate the buying patterns of their customers. So we could already adjust our supply chain to make sure we were in line with those trends.”

Covid-19 impact on shopping habits E-commerce and online shopping has seen a significant uptake during Covid-19 and lockdown. “In South Africa,

online shopping makes up between 2 to 3 percent of retailing services. The bricks and mortar model is still the dominant way of retailing,” Anton says. He explains that, where people used to go to the mall as an outing, they’ve become a lot more conscious of social distancing and are going to be more purposeful with their shopping in the future. “Our Checkers Sixty60 app, launched last year in November, was a well timed entry into e-commerce. It’s a mission-driven app that’s seen great customer acceptance. Across the board we’ve seen an increase in the sales of fresh produce, prepared meals, baking ingredients to name a few because, with restaurants closed during the initial lockdown, people had to cook and bake more,” he says. “Even with restaurants opening again, people are becoming a lot more conscious in their spending.”

“Shoprite is a big business and seeing the results of the changes was not something that was going to happen overnight.” Support from family and team finance When asked about how he’s balanced his family and team obligations during lockdown, Anton responds: “There’s not a lot of spare time but it certainly helps that Zyla works for Shoprite. When you see how hard everybody in this company works, it goes without saying that you understand why we are all as devoted as we are.” Amid his busy working schedule, Anton’s spare time is allocated to his family, with both he and Zyla spending as much time as possible with their two children. They really just enjoy being together but Anton says they also share a love of camping and travelling. Anton has a very strong finance team and together, they support each other’s wellness at work during this difficult time. “My finance team at home office is 60 percent female, a stat I am really proud of but I have to say my whole team is world class. I joked the other day we should set the board exam, start with a 15-country African supermarket business spanning nine industries, throw in IFRS16, discontinued operations and hyperinflation. It actually is quite exciting in real life, I must say I love what I do and I think everybody around me does too. That’s all in a day here at Shoprite – being the biggest retailer in South Africa is certainly a team effort.” l




CFO South Africa online summit

RESPOND, RECOVER, THRIVE Deloitte chief digital and innovation officer Valter Adão revealed how Covid-19 has accelerated global business into what has become the new normal during CFO South Africa’s first ever online summit.


n 2 April, CFO South Africa hosted its first ever online summit with 24 finance executives in attendance. The summit was originally scheduled to be held in Cape Town, but since the nationwide lockdown had been implemented, CFO South Africa found new ways of bringing the CFO community together online. CFO South Africa MD Joël Roerig welcomed the finance executives in attendance then introduced Deloitte chief digital and innovation officer Valter Adão, who kicked off conversations around how Covid-19 has accelerated global business into what has become the new normal.

Leading through drastic change Valter discussed three steps leaders will have to go through in this time of drastic change: respond, recover and thrive. “The response speaks to what we had to do in the days leading up to lockdown, as well as when we come out of lockdown. Then we have to move rapidly into a ‘recover and thrive’ mode in order to sustain ourselves into the future.” He referred to Youtube, Dropbox, WhatsApp, Tinder and Skype – companies that are increasingly outperforming others, saying these businesses are already fit for the kind of environment in which we are currently operating. However, Valter says that it’s not necessarily technology that is making these businesses phenomenal, it’s what leaders are doing with their technology that is allowing them to unlock this value. As a result, a lot of the disruption or change that is allowing companies to thrive in these difficult environments are businesses that have: •

Dematerialised: They’ve reduced their reliance on infrastructure.

Demonetised: They’ve changed their business model.



Democratised: They use data to develop hypotheses for running their businesses as opposed to the other way around where businesses develop hypotheses and input data to make key decisions.

“The other side of the digital economy and technology is that we’re getting rapid learning in this regard,” Valter adds. “Digital is more than just technology, it’s changing our physical, biological and chemical world. It’s changed how we live, work and communicate with each other and is having a tremendous impact on our businesses, industries and economies. It’s also created awareness around the social change that we have to drive in our environment and it’s empowered us as individuals in organisations to participate in that social change.” He unpacked some of the principles and philosophies leaderships need to tap into in this time of change: •

Unprecedented metabolic rate of change: This is the challenge that, as a CFO, you need to lead your business into the unknown. It also describes the adoption of these new solutions by customers. “That’s when disruption starts happening.”

Lawson effect: This is when companies are innovating vigorously in the wrong direction or becoming so comfortable with something that they break it. “You have to identify these Lawson moments in your organisation and stop them. Make sure your efforts around innovation are focused on something that will make your business stronger and is relevant to the market.”

Resource allocation: You have to distinguish what the right things are to invest into and what the wrong things are. You have to look for evidence of where the capex of a new digital solution is lower than the opex of how things were done before. You also have to ensure that you can unlock exponential growth, improved productivity and improved experience from these solutions.


“Digital is more than just technology, it’s changing our physical, biological and chemical world.”

New age of the ecosystem: In order to adjust to this new workforce ecosystem, leaders have to bring in experts and expertise into their businesses. “If we create the right ecosystems of expertise, we can progress.” Overnight, everyone is now in a symbiotic relationship, competitors, different industries and companies are working together to move into a new ecosystem.

Others revealed that the situation is pushing them to start thinking about the future of work – and whether they really need all that floorspace, while others said they were trying to identify new, pandemic-proof income streams.

Mini think tanks

When attendees were brought back into the main session, Valter said he felt incredibly proud to listen to a group of South African CFOs responding so aggressively and positively to a very challenging environment, and playing such a critical role in driving change.

Attendees were then split into “mini think tanks” to discuss their leadership style when it comes to adapting to and weathering the Covid-19 storm. CFOs shared that they are rising to the leadership challenge by being inclusive and holding regular check-ins with their teams. They are also being a lot more collaborative and transformative within their businesses’ operations.

He left CFOs inspired, saying this year is going to be the greatest leadership challenge ever. “We have to become very open-minded to new ways of doing things. People work best under pressure. We get far more creative in finding solutions to progress. And the last week is evidence of that. Use the crisis to make significant jumps forward.” l

This event was supported by principal partners Deloitte and Standard Bank, executive partners SAP Concur and Workday, and associate partners ClarkHouse Human Capital, Jaguar Land Rover, Coupa and Transparent.






Photos: Supplied

A high EQ culture and strong empathy for customers makes Coupa Software a natural partner for organisations seeking to mitigate their supply chain risk. Todd Ford, CFO for the Nasdaq-listed tech player, explains how the company helps customers navigate within a financially stressed world. By Victoria Williams





eadquartered in San Mateo, California, Coupa Software is a business spend management company that has grown beyond its North American roots to serve customers throughout the globe. Today, the company serves a spectrum of industry sectors including manufacturing, various consumer segments right the way through to the public sector and large nonprofits. Todd Ford, the CFO who has been with Coupa for just over five years, defines the company as a business spend management platform that delivers value for medium sized businesses and large global enterprises. “We are privileged to work with customers across all industries, allowing for a real depth of learning and community building across our client base.” This sentiment is echoed on the Coupa corporate website where it states ‘our core philosophy is that our customers are our greatest inspiration and that working together with them, we can continue to dramatically change how companies manage their spend.’ Todd admits that the past few months during the Covid19 pandemic have been particularly tough for many of the company’s customers. Especially those companies in travel, leisure and transportation. “This is a financial crisis, an economic crisis and a healthcare crisis rolled into one. Companies are look-

ing to reduce their financial risks, while at the same time wanting to take care of employees and ensuring their healthcare” he adds.

Where finance meets risk and supply According to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence, shares in Coupa Software zoomed up 132.7 percent in 2019. Last year the company attracted a substantial number of high-profile customers to its platform. Major new customers included Cloudflare, Volkswagen, American Red Cross and Shopify. The software player also confirmed a ramping up of usage of companies already on board, driving better than anticipated sales and earnings growth during the course of the year. What can the company source? Just about anything, including a carburettor for a ’69 Dodge Daytona, nets to combat malaria, and private jets. At the core of Coupa’s Business Spend Management Platform is a vibrant and growing community of companies, employees, suppliers and partners. With nearly $1.7 trillion in spend under management, Coupa offers both savings and valuable supplier insights through what it calls ‘community intelligence’. This community intelligence enables customers to harness the power of big data to perform tasks such as drill into their supply chain and view those suppliers flagged as being high risk. “The sheer number of data points




“We are privileged to work with customers across all industries, allowing for a real depth of learning and community building across our client base.” allows companies to engage with the best suppliers with the highest quality products at the right price points,” says Todd. These big data insights and prescriptions are especially critical now as companies gear up to meet the business and supply requirements forced on them by Covid-19. In these times, Coupa has assisted companies across the globe to source PPE kits as well as large quantities of sanitiser and disposable masks. This is no easy feat considering the current supply environment.

Preparing for a post-Covid world For Todd, building the business muscles to overcome adversity is key to resilience for companies. A world where business risk is non-existent is also a zerogrowth and opportunity one. “There will always be risk. This could be cyber risk or fraud, which can be planned for, to some extent. Then there are other risks such as a pandemic risk which very few organisations would have been able to foresee. Here it is important for the CFO to work with the executive team, operations team and board to address risks as they emerge.” Also, as Todd points out, there is a serious risk related to ‘doing nothing’. According to research by McKinsey, companies who invested during and post the 2008 Global Financial Crisis outperformed their peer group by a minimum of 20 percent for a sustained period of four to five years. While managing overhead and risk, is critical, Todd warns against an overly cautious approach. “There is always risk when running any business. Sometimes it is important to just survive and fight another day. But there comes a time when, if you don’t invest, your organisation will cease to exist.” Another potential upside that Todd anticipates in a post-Covid world is that companies will accelerate their digital transformation to drive long-term ‘stakeholder value’ as opposed to short-term business triage.

The culture of Coupa Todd is especially proud of his role in working with CEO



Rob Bernshteyn to take the company from a few hundred employees to one with more than 1,700 members globally, achieving the right ‘meritocratic’ culture where top performers are recognised and rewarded is key to this success. Last year, several former employees requested to re-join the company, bringing back their key skills as well as perspectives gained from working for other employers. This sense of community also flows over into interactions with customers. “We are always interested in what an individual wants to do. That’s always my first question in an interview. This means that our hires can be more productive. We invest in them and provide opportunities and encouragement that are consistent with their career path and personal goals.”

EMEA leads the way Todd sees great prospects for company growth from the EMEA region and anticipates 30 to 35 percent of new sales in the coming years to come from this region. He has found that the preparations that EMEA made to steady themselves for Brexit have also prepared them for the business threat posed by Covid-19. He is particularly excited about South Africa and the level of adoption that the company enjoys here. Already, Coupa’s South African customers include Standard Bank and Multichoice. “We have been pleasantly surprised by the interest and maturity from the South African market. We have built a specific go-to market team for South Africa, as it is a cornerstone of our EMEA strategy.” “In a time of pressure, people and organisations reveal their true colours. We see people and organisations from all industries stepping up to meet the challenges of Covid-19. The goodwill generated by those who lead well now will last into the future,” adds Todd. For Coupa, helping companies to source critical products including face shields and masks from leading suppliers is part of their contribution to a post-Covid world.

“There comes a time when, if you don’t invest, your organisation will cease to exist.”

A natural appetite for risk In 1988, Todd graduated with a bachelor of science in accounting from the Santa Clara University in Silicon Valley. Today, he has more than 30 years of broad management and financial operational experience. He has extensive background in developing companies from early stage start-ups through to their initial public offerings and beyond. Before joining Coupa, he was the CFO of MobileIron, a company that he helped take public in 2014. When Todd is not wooing investment bankers on Wall

Street or managing the financial affairs of Coupa, he spends time with his three boys, two of whom are in their early twenties. This includes ample time on the sidelines of the sports field and taking an active interest in their athletic pursuits. Todd has spent much of his free time over the years coaching sports teams and travelling. He is also a petrolhead and has a passion for racing cars. “I like the team aspect of racing. I like the fact that it’s consistent with striving for excellence – you can always get better. I also enjoy the technical aspects. And as you get older, you know, it’s a way that you can still compete!” l



Photos: Patrick Furter


“It is an absolute privilege to work with the kids and be part of their transformation.”



CFO CARES The privilege of coaching Afgri Group CFO Rivasha Maharaj made the time in her busy schedule to mentor a Grade 12 learner throughout her academic year – helping her achieve distinctions and a place at university. By Victoria Williams


or Rivasha Maharaj, Afgri Group CFO, working with people has been her favourite part of any job. “I have a personal passion for people and have always found empowering and coaching my staff to be hugely fulfilling. I never had any professional qualification in coaching, but it was something that always interested me.” In 2017 she decided to pursue this passion by qualifying as a transformational life coach and registering with COMENSA, the SAQA-recognised professional body for coaching and mentoring in South Africa. It was also through COMENSA that she was introduced to the possibility of volunteering at the IkamvaYouth programme.

Rivasha found it humbling to learn about the challenges that the young people in the IkamvaYouth programme face. These include poor living conditions, drugs and peer pressure. But IkamvaYouth helps participating young people to rise above this. “The programme has achieved amazing results over the last few years, and it is an absolute privilege to work with the kids and be part of their transformation,” Rivasha says. Founded in 2003, the organisation works with underprivileged Grade 8 to Grade 12 learners with the aim of improving pass rates and study horizons beyond school. A staggering 50 percent of South African children do not make it to Grade 12 – this is approximately half a mil-

lion learners each year. Volunteers, like Rivasha, support learners to visualise their dreams for the future and imagine a life beyond their present reality. In practical terms, this means ensuring that each Grade 12 learner applies to at least three post-school opportunities.

Playing a ‘big sister’ role In 2019, Rivasha was paired with Palesa* a Grade 12 schoolgirl and she took on a ‘big sister’ role by spending two hours with her every Saturday, throughout the academic year. Rivasha’s regular presence helped Palesa make better decisions regarding her future and navigate the challenges of adolescence and township life. “Sometimes it




was simply practical advice. Like most youngsters, she had no idea what was appropriate to post on social media. Here I guided her and explained the consequences of poor social media choices and that prospective employers do look at a candidate’s social channels,” says Rivasha. As Rivasha soon found, access to data is a major constraint to most learners – making it almost impossible to research an area of study. She supported Palesa in making the decision of whether to study law or tourism by doing extensive research into each field and the various bursaries available. “It’s not enough to say you want to become a lawyer, you need to know what type of law appeals to you. These questions take time to answer,” she explained. Having lofty ambitions is one thing, but having a strong academic record is quite another. Goal setting and tracking formed a big part of the relationship. “Every quarter we would set goals for percentages to be achieved. We’d talk about allocating time to study and what would be required to achieve those goals. We’d also plan to celebrate the good results.” For Rivasha the biggest learning about the experience was the importance of patience: “I’m not a patient person by nature. You must give the individual your total dedication and really listen – you can’t be on your phone when you’re together. You must see this as being beyond a professional relationship

Do you have a CFO Cares story to share with us? Contact CFO community manager John Deane on jdeane@cfo.co.za with the details.



and connect as a human being. A mentee takes you into their trust circle, you can’t break this trust. They can’t view you as yet another authority figure that is going to rap them over the knuckles.” The relationship flourished throughout the year and Rivasha was thrilled when Palesa achieved a Matric with distinctions and was accepted into university. She keeps in touch with her mentee, although meeting up in person during Covid19 hasn’t been possible.

Coaching in the workplace Rivasha’s training as a transformational life coach also pays dividends in the workplace. She spends about 10 hours a week mentoring her team and finds this practice to be worthwhile in terms of both performance and team cohesion. She believes that the old control and command management style is being replaced by mentoring and coaching relationships. This new style doesn’t allow for micromanagement but is rather built on high-trust relationships between employer and employee. “This is an incredibly positive change because you expose your people to new possibilities. They soon learn that they are able to accomplish more.”

Motivating Afgri

While Rivasha recommends mentorship as being a worthwhile pursuit for mentors, she also cautions against being overly prescriptive. “My advice to anyone wanting to mentor is that it’s not about you. It is easy to give advice and tell people what to do. If you take this approach, your mentees will not learn anything. Great mentorship is where you help people to control their emotions and process their thoughts for themselves.” l *Not her real name

Rivasha joined Afgri and the agriculture industry in 2017 after several years in the food industry. After completing her articles of clerkship, Rivasha joined Meadow Feeds in June 2004 as a management accountant. Thereafter she fulfilled various senior finance positions at Nampak and Tega Industries. During 2016 she was appointed as financial director at DivFood, a Division of Nampak.

Afgri is classified as an essential services business which means that the firm kept operating through the highest lockdown levels. Most staff members worked from home and Rivasha notes that productivity remained high. One of the challenges was that staff members struggled with the ‘blurred lines’ that occurred when working from home and not knowing when to switch off. Here, much of Rivasha’s work has been to keep her team motivated and connected.

She joined Afgri in May 2017 as CFO looking after AFGRI Agri Services. These companies operate in South Africa and African countries. In February 2018 she was appointed as group CFO at Afgri Group Holdings.

“It is easy to give advice and tell people what to do. If you take this approach, your mentees will not learn anything.”





INTEGRATION Deloitte Consulting Africa CFO Aneshree Naidoo shared her journey of integrating leadership, wellness and motherhood during a global pandemic with Caylynne Fourie.


or Deloitte Consulting Africa CFO Aneshree Naidoo, 2020 is an evolutionary year. Having concluded 2019 on maternity leave, Aneshree re-joined the workforce mid-January – only just before Covid-19 hit South Africa and a national lockdown was declared on 27 March. She says that having to suddenly deal with the significant impact of the virus from a work perspective and then considering the personal impact to families and on the home-front was challenging.

Returning to work amid Covid-19 After maternity leave, Aneshree returned to an office environment that was gearing up and excited about a much-anticipated move to Deloitte’s new headquarters in Waterfall, but also at a time when Covid-19 was starting to be relevant globally and a possible lockdown loomed for South Africa. Fast-forward nearly 120 days since lockdown at the time of the interview with CFO Magazine, and Aneshree has established a schedule that enables and supports both professional and personal dimensions. On the work front, Aneshree, along with her leadership team, is responsible for building the finance portfolio of Deloitte Consulting Africa. This is a priority-one area for the team after having responded quickly and successfully to tangible Covid-19 business impacts. She is also focused on lifting the quality and speed of reporting in the business, following on from a successful S4Hana ERP implementation in the previous year. “My team is instrumental in supporting and steering our Africa-wide strategy,” Aneshree says. “I enable and mobilise my teams in an unambiguous way so that they successfully execute on short and medium-term projects, thereby growing their experience base and organisational reach.”



Navigating new business challenges and opportunities Aneshree says that forecasting in general is a challenge in an ever-changing trading climate, but that Covid-19 has made it a lot more difficult due to the inherent uncertainties of a global pandemic. “A current observation is that there are longer client deal conversion periods as some clients require time to rebound from the impact of Covid-19 and other economic challenges before committing to the next transformation project.” However, she believes that this also presents an opportunity for Deloitte to support its clients in navigating through the current challenges and show value in transforming now. As an example, implementing or enhancing digital solutions aids the recovery process in a time where virtual work is the norm. “For our finance teams, we are seizing the opportunity to get closer to our deal teams, understand the changing forecasting landscape and sensitise for these changing assumptions in our financial projections and activity.”

Leading in times of crisis Working with numbers has always been exciting for Aneshree. “I developed a passion for numbers from a young age by playing with toys like number blocks, the abacus and the ‘magic cube’,” she says. “I did well in maths competitions and was also exposed to entrepreneurship from primary school days through cake sales and ‘DIY and sell’ projects.” She ended up choosing to study accounting for financial and logistical reasons and was afforded a full bursary to embark on her CA journey at the University of Pretoria.

“I always say if you lead with courage and empathy and have people at the heart of your business, the numbers usually work themselves out.”

“I always say if you lead with courage and empathy and have people at the heart of your business, the numbers usually work themselves out,” she says. “And leadership style is so important, especially during these unprecedented times.” The strategic aspects of her role include supporting geographical considerations for Deloitte Consulting, engaging with stakeholders across the firm on various business matters and ultimately steering Deloitte Consulting Africa to grow profitably each year. Stakeholder connections remain key, especially while working remotely. “My role is to lead the finance team and support the firm’s initiates in any way I can.”

Life before and after Sonali’s birth Before Aneshree fell pregnant with her daughter, Sonali, she loved to travel the world with her husband, Soneil. “I enjoy learning about other geographies and

being exposed to different cultures; the food, music, people,” she says. “I also love to learn about work ways adopted globally and in turn share our SA best practices at global forums.” Travelling is not on the cards currently due to the travel ban in South Africa, but this does not stop her family from making the most of watching travel and food shows and perusing their travel pictures and videos. Soneil and Aneshree were delighted to have a safe and sound way to introduce baby Sonali to the world outside of home. “The last few months have indeed been evolutionary,” she says. “In response to these changing times, my husband and I have re-established support structures so that we can focus on work, dedicate time for wellness and maximise family time. I also try to come back to the simple things in life, like taking in the outdoors and breathing fresh air.” From the moment Aneshree was pregnant, she voiced to Sonali to be “strong, bold, smart and kind”. She continues to tell Sonali these words on a regular basis and now Sonali is starting to recognise the words and smiles broadly.



Photos: Patrick Furter

But, for Aneshree, the real magic of her role as CFO lies in the people aspect of what she does.

“I enable and mobilise my teams in an unambiguous way so that they successfully execute on short and medium-term projects.”

She explains that it’s these affirmations that can help Sonali live her best life. “Strong is not about being only physically strong, but mentally as well. Bold is being courageous enough to deal with challenges and try new things. Smart is not just intellectual ability but combined with kindness to co-create for the new and better”. Aneshree’s first “children” are her two chows, Simba and Nala. “Soneil and I have had them since we got married, 10 years ago. Since Sonali came along, Simba and Nala have developed protective and compassionate streaks and on most warm afternoons, you’ll find us all playing together in the garden.”

Supporting children outside of family Aneshree and her team at Deloitte support initiatives at children’s homes. “We are mostly working moms in the team and we understand and appreciate what is required to raise children. We take every opportunity to support youth projects, be it in the form of donations or historically, time spent with children, nurses and house-mothers at the homes. I am proud of and inspired by my team – we try to give back to the community as much as we can and with heart. “ In her personal capacity, Aneshree also supports various youth care homes. “Visiting children’s homes was part of my childhood. My aunt has dedicated her life to supporting youth care facilities and so I would go to her on weekends and school holidays. I saw first-hand some of the trauma and hardships children face from an early age. It is heart-breaking!”



Aneshree also started mentoring during her articles and subsequently signed up to a global mentoring platform. It gave her both the opportunity to mentor and be mentored. “My focus is primarily on accelerating the careers of women. I am passionate about women putting their hands up to change things up and charter new territories. The time is now.”

Looking forward Looking five years into the future, Aneshree’s first response to where she sees herself was jokingly “chasing after a five-year-old”. Aneshree has been a multinational CFO for more than a decade and says she enjoys leading finance and operation teams within large organisations. “I thrive in the consulting and technology space,” she adds. “I’m embracing the ‘build’ action going forward… I plan to build on my experience and focus deeper on building successful teams, building up financial results, building up our economy coming out of this pandemic and extending community build programmes.” She says she is also deeply grateful for family moments. “I look forward to growing with and learning from Sonali and also the exciting new tech stuff Soneil will teach me about over the next 20 years and beyond together… who knows, maybe I will enlighten him on a thing or two in this area…” Reflecting on the blessing of family, Aneshree urges everyone to stay safe and well as we overcome the pandemic together. l

It’s crunch time The CFO guide to cloud As a CFO, you know in your gut that cloud investments will be part of the future, whether they’re driven by the need for innovation, the need for cost reduction, or both. CFOs need to be aware of all these opportunities. The key to effectiveness with cloud is to have a workable plan and keep moving. With a taste of what’s possible, and with Finance at the table, you can be sure that new initiatives can be extended across the enterprise when the time is right. For more information contact, contact Philip Hechter, Finance and Enterprise Performance Leader – Africa Tel: +27 (0)11 517 4646 | Email: phechter@deloitte.co.za © 2019. For information, contact Deloitte Africa. (815367/Una)

Photos: Patrick Furter and supplied

“I like to engage and share ideas in an environment where people can say what they think and then give feedback.”



CHASING THE CHALLENGE Hennie Nel, the CFO of Santam, says that his challenge in life has been to find the right balance in doing all the things he enjoys. Hennie told Georgina Guedes about all the interesting things he’s managed to get done, including working on three continents, making the switch from auditing to taking on the CFO role at Santam, mentoring and developing young professionals, and building a home on a smallholding in the mountains.


hile he was at school, Santam CFO Hennie Nel contemplated a number of different career paths, including teaching, but ultimately settled on a commerce degree, based on his interest in business and skillset. After completing his honours at Stellenbosch University, he joined Coopers & Lybrand in Cape Town, where he completed his articles over three years, working in the wine, advertising and retail industries. Then, at the end of his articles, he made what he describes as an “almost impulsive decision” to travel to Singapore to work for Coopers there. “I had never travelled overseas, and thought this was a good way to get there. I did something different from most of my friends, who went to London. It sounded like they did things very differently in the Far East, and I thought it would be interesting to experience a culture that was unlike the South African or British cultures I was used to,” he says.

Settling into Singapore Coopers provided a week’s worth of accommodation in Singapore, after which the young auditor had to find his own place to stay in the bustling and very foreign city. “I looked at what I could find and realised with my salary that all I could afford was to rent a room with a local Chinese family, in a flat in one of the big housing estates. I ended up moving into a flat that I shared with a family of seven.” He says that the opportunity to experience another culture’s family life was mind-expanding. “I’d been isolated from a cultural perspective growing up in Stellenbosch, and now I got to see that although people operate in a different way, in the end, we’re all the same. It was fascinating. I stayed with them for the full year, and by the end of it, we were all very good friends.” Some of the cultural differences he recalls were that the family he stayed with did not drink alcohol, whereas he, as a good son of Stellenbosch, loves wine. They also did not consume dairy products. However, he says that there’s a strong culture of



“If we were working and a mealtime came up, we would all stop, and sit together and talk about anything other than the work.”

interacting as a family and work colleagues over meals. “They have such a good habit of talking to each other. If we were working and a mealtime came up, we would all stop, and sit together and talk about anything other than the work. They had a remarkable ability to switch off and have a real conversation.” On the other hand, on his first day in the office, when it got to 5.30 in the evening, Hennie started getting ready to pack up, but noticed that no one else was doing the same. He asked an assistant whether everyone would be leaving and she said, “No, it’s still about two hours before we go out for dinner.” Hennie recalls that the Singapore team were happy to keep working until eight or nine every night. “They were also very direct in conversation. They would say things exactly as they were, which could come across as aggressive. But then we’d all go out together and have a great meal.”

“The London experience was good. It was really empowering. You are forced to think on your feet and be proactive. You can’t wait for things to happen. I learnt a lot in the work environment.” While he was in London, he married his South African fiancée Elmien, who came over to join him there. Together, they travelled extensively out of London. However, after three winters in Old Blighty, Hennie felt that he was at the end of his endurance. “I enjoy the outside, and London is in semi-darkness and rain for most of the year. As much as I enjoyed the city, and had a really good time there, when PwC offered me the opportunity to work at their Financial Services Group in Cape Town, I felt that it was time.”

Back to the West and South

His son Christian was born in the year after he returned, and his daughter Frida three years later. Hennie, who finds it challenging to find time for all the things he wants to do, found that having children was good for him. “Kids make you focus on what’s really important, so that was a great learning experience for me as well.”

After his year in a culturally different environment, Hennie moved across to London, still with Coopers, which by then had become PwC, where he worked in motor retail, the sugar industry and a little in financial services.

In those years, he was instrumental with his team in building up a strong Western Cape Financial Services Practice at PwC, but was then approached by Santam, who had been a client from 2001 to 2007, to take on the role of CFO. “When I’d been working at PwC, I’d done a



LEADERSHIP lot of work on the consulting and auditing side, and I’d looked at corporates and wondered what it might be like to make the switch. I thoroughly enjoy change, and in a professional services firm, you are constantly working on new projects or transactions. So I was worried that a corporate might require the same thing every month.” Another concern was that he would miss the training aspect of his profession, which he found extremely enjoyable, as in professional services, there are new employees joining the business all the time. “You get to see them develop. In that first year, they are uncertain, then they evolve into confident professionals. I really enjoyed participating in that remarkable process.” However, the Santam position appealed to his desire for change, and presented a number of interesting and exciting opportunities, so he took the leap. “The fact that I am still doing it, eight years later, is a testimony to the fact that things don’t stay the same from month to month. There’s a huge amount of change and vibrancy in the Santam business, and the claims environment is often impacted by natural disasters – outside the control of the business.”

people into new positions on an ongoing basis. He’s enjoyed seeing how colleagues advance in the group and how they grow into new roles as time goes on.

Team work and mentoring Through regular interaction with the teams reporting into him, Hennie’s also found that he didn’t have to sacrifice his passion for developing people. “I really enjoy mentoring, not only formally, but very much informally as well. I like to engage and share ideas in an environment where people can say what they think and then give feedback. If they can get confident enough to give you good feedback, then it’s a tremendous benefit, because often you have blind spots you don’t even know about unless someone has the confidence to tell you. It works both ways – and they gain as much as I do, hopefully.”

“I thoroughly enjoy change, and in a professional services firm, you are constantly working on new projects or transactions.”

The Santam story In his new role, Hennie was part of evolving Santam’s international strategy, in partnership with its holding company Sanlam. In 2013 the board approved the strategy, which provided Santam with the opportunity to participate and be part of all the general insurance acquisitions Sanlam makes outside of South Africa. “For every business Sanlam buys, we have the opportunity to participate,” Hennie explains. This agreement between the groups has resulted in the acquisition of an interest in companies in 12 counties across Africa, India and Malaysia. “Two years after the strategy was presented, we had the opportunity to buy into Saham, the largest insurance group in Africa, outside of South Africa. Saham had operations in 26 countries across the continent. We worked closely with the Sanlam team. We invested R2.5 billion in this business over three years." This, Hennie explains, gave them quick access to a footprint of general insurance businesses on the continent, to support the expansion of the Santam Specialist Business, through which they now have access to new insurance opportunities including large infrastructure developments. Hennie’s group reporting team is relatively young, and he and the management team are employing and moving

One piece of feedback he was given by a team member that has stuck with him was that he is not clear enough when he disagrees with someone. “Do they even know you’re disagreeing with them?” his colleague asked, adding, “They aren’t getting the message strongly enough.” Hennie was delighted with this candour, has internalised the feedback and is now much clearer when he gives feedback. When Covid-19 struck, the Santam financial reporting team got working from home within a week. “In our business, agility is a key requirement – and the team demonstrated this with passion when we had to take the office home.” He knows that Santam will see significant economic impact from the pandemic. “We will all have less to spend, which will impact the top line, so we’re having to consider how we’ll manage our cost base in these circumstances while looking for opportunities to grow the business.” However, he adds that there have been remarkable learnings from the lockdown period in terms of the flexibility of working from home, and he is considering to what extent he and his team can continue to apply that flexibility in the long term.” Hennie describes running as one of his big passions in life. “I really love it – for myself, to be on my own and get my head clear.” He struggled without this release in the early days of lockdown, along with the four dogs in their family home, who were also desperate to get out again. In another form of escape, Hennie and his family like to get away to their smallholding in the mountains, where they can relax far away from the bustle of the city. He is also still a travel enthusiast, and the family make an annual pilgrimage to the Wild Coast. l



“I believe I have an ability to read people and get a sense of who they are.”



Craig Sumption’s high school habit of finding solutions has made him the leader he is today as the director of finance at Hatch Africa. By Puseletso Mompei


raig Sumption, director of finance at Hatch Africa, started his journey to leadership at a young age. As part of the first cohort of Rand Park High School, he became the first head boy of the school, having filled leadership roles from Grade 9 until Matric.

Photos: Patrick Furter

“As the eldest students, our group developed strong leadership skills. For me, it was abilities such as being able to interact with others, learning how to read and understand people and appreciate how they handle different challenges.” As head boy, he had to plan and assign duties, head meetings and, in some instances, lead prefects and others who didn’t necessarily want to be burdened with responsibility. “I developed a deep sense of responsibility and accountability, and if something didn’t happen, I took it upon myself to step up and make a plan. This mentality of finding solutions has stayed with me until today.”



Craig knew as early as when he was 10 years old that he wanted to be a chartered accountant, “I was playing chess by the time I was six and so I was already developing the ability to be strategic and tactical in my thinking. I first heard about the profession from my uncle, who I was pretty close to. As he described his work, I felt an immediate resonance with it and, as I went through school and enjoyed numbers more, my path was pretty certain.” At Hatch, Craig leads a local finance team of 18 in a business that supplies engineering, project and construction management services, process and business consulting and operational services to the mining, metallurgical, energy and infrastructure industries. He says so far, the Covid-19 crisis has not disrupted the company too much and they have been able to maintain a lot of stability. The biggest modification has been a change in communication, as the team moved to remote working. “We have had regular weekly calls and




“Even though this stage has been fine, no one can be certain what the workload will be in the future.” catch up sessions. The team know what needs to be done and accomplished, so operationally there haven’t been major hiccups.” The team is largely located in Joburg with a regional team which oversees India, Russia and the UK.

Addressing the challenges As the weeks rolled by, however, Craig began noticing that a mundaneness starting to creep into calls and challenged himself to think about how to keep people engaged “I have made it a point to keep an eye on who is participating in conversations and call on those who aren’t.” From his love of reading (he enjoys genres such as non-fiction and autobiographies) he tried to pick up interesting concepts that he can bring back to the team as conversation starters. “For example, I have used Bruce Whitfield’s book, ‘The upside of down’, to ask questions about how well we know our country. By presenting new angles to commonly held ideas, or reasoning around the numbers in the book, I saw increased engagement. The people on our team already have a liking for numbers, so interrogating fresh ideas and sharing our thoughts has enhanced how we connect and relate as a collective.” He admits that though his team have made it through the last few months in one piece, they have not been immune to the general uncertainty in the world. “Even though this stage has been fine, no one can be certain what the workload will be in the future. We don’t know whether we will land other big projects and what the volume of work will be moving forward. That uncertainty sits in the back of everyone’s mind, with questions around job security six months to 12 months down the line.” He shares that it’s difficult to cope with that uncertainty and that as a leader you are in the tough position of being expected to offer comfort, but also not knowing what the future holds, “You don’t want people to get overtaken by worry, but can’t make false promises. It's about striking the balance between being as realistic as possible without painting doom-andgloom scenarios. I remind people that now is the time



for us to be cautious, not just as business but in our personal finances. Hold back on any splurging and prepare for a rainy day. Finding that fine balance in the message is important, but sometimes tricky.” Sharing wisdom and insight is important to Sumption, having benefited from close relationships with Hatch’s previous managing director, and the managing director of the Infrastructure Business unit. “In my early years at the company, their support and guidance, including me in discussions and guiding me where there are shortcomings was extremely beneficial. Their influence developed both technical and softer skills, which made a huge impact on my ability to lead.” Craig knows that mindset and perspective are important and he asks the team to share any positives that have come out of the pandemic. Apart from people saying they appreciate the extra time with family, they also report that they are not spending a lot of money on extras that they don’t need and are diverting it elsewhere. “I expect that we are heading into a tumultuous time, every industry is faced with different challenges and we are in different stages and phases of change. Getting the economy back on its feet is going to take a while and won’t be straightforward.”

Life and leadership Born in Cape Town, Craig moved with his family to Johannesburg when he was a small child. The middle of three boys, he is also the father of three sons. He says growing up with boys who tend to bounce back from disagreements, taught him that holding on to things doesn’t do anyone any good. He has a naturally calm temperament and finds that as a result people come to him as a sounding board to test the rigour of what they think, without the risk of a major reaction. He thinks that being calm de-escalates situations and leaves space for listening, gathering information and getting the full picture of a situation. His leadership style is one of engagement, talking to people and finding out what is happening in their corner of the world. “I believe I have an ability to read people and get a sense of who they are. Once the objectives are clear, I prefer to trust people to get on and

achieve what needs to be done. I don’t like to micromanage people because that’s how they learn and gain ownership over the process. His biggest career challenge has been being involved in a process of liquidation, which he says was not an easy time. “The people issues were very tough, but I got through this period by not panicking and overreacting and taking it one day at a time without having to do everything immediately.” His central approach to life is one of being committed to doing the right thing in the most fundamental ways. “This looks like making the right conscious decisions;

I don’t like waste and the principle of value for money is constant. It doesn’t matter who’s paying for something, if something is not well priced, it’s often not wise to purchase it, or invest in it. Value goes both ways; you should receive it and make sure that you also deliver it to others.” Outside of work, apart from reading and golf, Craig and his wife are enthusiastic church goers and he admits to being a chocaholic. With three grown sons, one abroad and two living locally, he counts himself fortunate to have been able to give them a good home environment and be a present dad when they were growing up. l







Risk management in the modern-day business landscape is becoming increasingly crucial as we navigate through uncertain times. In order for businesses to survive the storms, companies have to be ‘risk intelligent’. Chief risk officers are now charged with ensuring the organisation’s financial stability and overall good company health, especially during stormy seasons like Covid-19. By Narissa Subramoney




he Covid-19 pandemic presented businesses, individuals and the global economy with an unprecedented challenge. Never before in human history have we shut down the global economy due to a pandemic, and neither have we attempted to reopen said economy while dealing with the consequences of a highly contagious disease. Business leaders in the public and private sectors have had to dig deep and find alternative solutions to survive the shut-down or allow operations continue under strict social distancing protocols, including allowing employees to work from home or changing working conditions that allow operating with skeletal staff and rotating teams, while providing additional non-pharmaceutical support including masks and sanitisers for employees. Companies are also having to come up with strategies and protocols on how to respond if a staff member has been exposed to the virus. The pandemic is the ultimate test for corporate leadership, and their resilience in these times will depend on their ability to learn and adapt as new information presents itself. Leaders must be prepared to incorporate different approaches, be this in stages or radically, depending on the business needs. Risk officers (ROs) have a unique set of skills that allows them to foresee potential problems and envision risks that others can miss. Equally important is how these risks and strategies are presented. The board and its executive committees must be confident that the RO or risk team can identify most threats ahead of time and that the recommendations presented can be applied.

The black elephant

Christopher Palm



So, did CROs see Covid-19 coming? Christopher Palm, chief risk officer at the Institute of Risk Management South Africa, says 50 percent of ROs refer to Covid-19 as the “black swan”, which is defined as an unpredictable or unforeseen event, typically one with extreme consequences. Palm refers to the 2011 American thriller movie Contagion: “If you’ve watched it, you sit back and think, ‘Well, they’ve shown us movies about this kind of virus, it’s not inconceivable’.” But he admits that preparing for this kind of scenario hinges on how this information is communicated to leadership. “We certainly won’t have a problem convincing them now,” says Palm. “I call Covid-19 the black elephant, not the black swan. [A pandemic] has always been the elephant in the room, so has climate change, this is not new to us. We just chose not to speak about it because it formed part of our biases.”

“You need to present options to the board rather than coming in with a message of doom.” Christopher says it’s time now for companies to support these emerging risks much better than they have in the past. “It’s not just about waiting for the board and executives, it’s about doing more, and using the tools technology is providing like big data sets, tracking data, tracking performance, tracking the external environment, key risk indicators and building scenarios.”

Building a risk strategy Emerging technology has provided an opportunity for the market to respond to the need to provide data, specifically data as seen through the risk lens. “These must be used as key risk indicators to build scenarios. It’s not enough to present this information as, ‘We will be hit by a virus,’ you need to walk in with scenarios on how to respond effectively when the virus hits. You need to present options to the board rather than coming in with a message of doom,” says Christopher. In companies without an appointed RO, this task falls under the duties of a CFO. Companies differ on how they approach risk – some adopt international standard organisational risk methodology, while others opt for an in-house developed risk management strategy. It comes down to what the country or company supports or what the culture of the organisation is more adaptive to. Some of the most popular approaches include research activities such as risk assessment for current company affairs or risk evaluation, which explores how the company responded to handling risks and threats in the past. Risk management is especially important for businesses using multi-currencies. Bianca Botes, executive director at Peregrine Treasury Solutions, says, “Any business that imports, exports or has any other form of foreign currency exposure, is subject to currency risk, the risk it faces when a financial transaction takes place in a currency other than the unit in which it operates.” In this case the entity could suffer a financial loss should the currency move against it, in spite of sound underlying performance. She says, “The best way to deal with such risk is to put a strategy and a policy in place to enable businesses to focus more

Bianca Botes



“If a business has a currency risk policy that it follows, it is easier to understand and to explain why a particular course of action was taken.” comprehensively on providing its core goods or services, allowing the forex to be managed more effectively and professionally.” As a start, many companies are unaware of their breakeven rand value. This needs to be established at the outset and only then can you determine where the risk lies. For instance, if your breakeven is at R18.00 to the dollar, what would the impact on your business be if the currency were to rise to, say, R17.00 to the dollar? In such a case, exports become less competitive, thus hurting the profitability of exporters, while importers would benefit. Bianca says: “If a business has a currency risk policy that it follows, it is easier to understand and to explain why a particular course of action was taken, rather than why no action was taken.” By following the policy, a company is able to manage the risk that it faces, as well as its potential loss of earnings. In establishing a risk policy, a business needs to determine the types of risk that it faces, the degree of volatility that it is able or willing to tolerate and the way in which that risk will be managed and mitigated. But it’s not enough for financial professionals to limit themselves to just understanding risk management. In-depth knowledge of the company and industry they represent is vital if they want to accurately assess risks that may become a reality without intervention by organisation management. They also need to understand strategy, its development and execution and have a well-rounded approach to resilience. The best CROs know how to integrate all three, making organisations risk intelligent. But even with these measures, a grim reality hangs over the heads of most, if not all, dedicated financial professionals.

Strong ethical governance Megan Pydigadu



Rampant abuse of power in government, multinational corporations and conglomerates, and even among religious leaders, has shown us just how deep the rabbit hole of corruption can

go. If the board is corrupt, it doesn’t matter what is being presented, especially if there is no will to implement the necessary changes. Company culture is reflected in how people are managed. There has to be strong ethical governance from the CEO because that culture filters down to its executives and non-executive members and subsequent sub-committees. IT service management company EOH CFO Megan Pydigadu knows this challenge well. “We don’t come from a good place, a lot of the failings at EOH came from a lack of governance and oversight.” But the new management decided this was not how it would continue operating and they aggressively adopted a new approach to carry the company forward. Megan and CEO Stephen van Coller took the decision to appoint a group risk officer to help the company move in a more productive direction. Megan argues that risk departments should not fall under the mandate of the CFO, but rather, risk officers must function independently from the board and the company operations so that they may take an unhindered approach to managing risk and uncovering dubious behaviour. “You can’t be doing the work and overseeing what you are doing,” says Megan. So group risk and compliance functions are separate from operations. EOH also appointed an auditing committee as part of its risk management strategy. But not all CFOs agree with Megan’s approach. Pieter De Wit, CFO at Afrimat, says risk management cannot operate as a silo or as an isolated function within the organisation, but rather that ownership of risk falls to the entire company. “My personal approach is that risk management needs to be driven throughout the business, you can’t expect risk to be handled only by one committee, but rather a collective company approach to risk management.” Identifying risks usually falls to the audit committees that sit on the board. “Even if CROs functioned independently, I don’t think it will affect much change if the board leadership is unethical, and the reality is you cannot legislate ethical behaviour. Ethics begin and the top and it forms part of company culture,” says Pieter. As part of Afrimat’s approach to leadership, an anonymous whistleblowing protocol is in place to encourage staff to report suspicious activities. “We want people to speak up, not just about accountability but also to drive innovation,” says Pieter. Afrimat hasn’t shied away from dealing with high ranking managers who’ve been caught dipping their pens in company ink. A senior manager whose illicit activities were anonymously reported was immediately investigated and fired once guilt was

Pieter de Wit



confirmed. Afrimat didn’t stop there, the company filed criminal charges against the manager at the commercial crimes court.

Board support Soraya Joonas, financial director at Inyathelo, a non-profit trust, says having the ear of the board certainly makes life easier. As a non-profit organisation, effective risk management is vital for survival because it derives its funding from donations, and making sure that these resources are not abused is a top priority. “As NPOs grow and evolve, it’s easy for them to go belly up because of things they didn’t think of or processes they didn’t put in place to mitigate risk,” says Soraya. But having an ethically sound board and a direct line to leadership makes it easier to navigate turbulent times. “One thing I’ve always appreciated about our board is that as a finance person you are bringing issues of risk to the table, I’ve always had a direct reporting line and I’m not edited by the CEO.” Amending reports after the fact, so that the scenarios presented can be more in line with leadership expectations, is a problematic requirement for many finance professionals. When accountants and risk managers alter their findings in response to pressure, it leaves an indelible mark on their work experience. The culture of fear becomes prevalent and it makes people reluctant to report suspicious transactions, and employ a ‘do-as-you-told’ work ethic. Employees will toe the company line when they’ve experienced abuse of power, or witnessed senior managers and executives using company policies to carry out vendettas and witch-hunts against anyone daring to be different. The Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture revealed obscene abuse of power, as well as fraud and corruption in the public sector using organs of state. But despite the explosive testimonies and whistleblowing coming out of the widely publicised Commission, there have been zero arrests, let alone prosecutions. The same is true in South Africa’s biggest corporate fraud scandal, with the December 2017 collapse at Steinhoff. Shareholders, including the Government Employee Pension fund, which is Steinhoff’s second biggest shareholder, lost up to R200 billion, but even that failed to spark swift legal action.

Soraya Joonas



Walter Leonhardt, CFO at Coca-Cola says “At the heart of that scandal was a major ethics failure. You will not have a successful governance framework and compliance with that framework if the ethical

“You will not have a successful governance framework and compliance with that framework if the ethical underbed of the organisation is unhealthy.” underbed of the organisation is unhealthy, and that’s not necessarily the board, but the CEO and the executive committee.” Walter says he has concerns about the extent to which corrupt CEOs are made to account for their wrong doings. “If you hold people accountable, if you fire culprits, and you go after them to recover what is recoverable, that takes a lot of time and guts.” He references the struggles South Africa has faced with accountability. “There are many examples and suspicions of people who have participated in untoward dealings who have not yet suffered the consequences of their dealings, especially within the private sector.” He says removing a compromised CEO is easy, especially when the board has concerns about the individual, but this is not always done. In times like these, it’s important to look out for one another and the business. Reporting dubious activity is everyone’s responsibility, that includes confronting the person responsible. “A lot of the time, incorrect ways of doing things are [applied] out of ignorance. If you know better, you have a responsibility to speak up, and help one another ,instead of talking about it and skinnering among themselves,” says Walter. He notes that ignoring wrongdoing among peers is becoming increasingly prevalent and that the company suffers in the end. He says people that don’t report or confront wrongdoing because they’re scared are taking the easy road out. “I won’t deny fear being present, but it’s a cop-out because there are bodies in place that allow for anonymous reporting.” He uses the example of looking out for your family. “If you have two children, and the one child sees the other child doing something they shouldn’t, what would you prefer? Does the child keep this information to themselves, or talk to their siblings? The company and government is no different.” He cautions that silence about wrongdoing is actually undermining the family, company and government. l

Walter Leonhardt



Photos: Supplied

“I’ve learnt how to deliver those not-so-nice messages. In my role, you have to get used to not being a popular person.”



A CALLING FOR PUBLIC SERVICE For ACCA-qualified Yvonne Soglo, no day is the same in her role as director: provincial budget analysis at the National Treasury. Her responsibilities include supporting 12 finance teams in the Limpopo province to deliver on spending that matches their budgets. By Victoria Williams


or Yvonne, a day in the office starts with answering email queries and quickly reading up about what’s happening on the ground in Limpopo. Being informed is key to her success in providing support to 12 departments and five public entities with their various heads of departments and CFOs. She is also regularly called on to provide oversight on budget matters, procurement decisions, technical accounting issues and the financial and performance management of these various departments. While based in Pretoria, she also spends a considerable amount of her time in Limpopo assessing spend against deliverables. A substantial part of her work is to monitor provincial departments' expenditure and discuss remedial actions where necessary. This often means visiting sites where budget has been allocated. When spending does not meet expectations, Yvonne has to engage with departments and the Provincial Treasury to determine what the root cause is. “I spend much of my time in negotiations and consultation with various stakeholders. I’ve learnt how to deliver those not-so-nice messages. In my

role, you have to get used to not being a popular person," she says. She knows that each province has its unique challenges and spending priorities and it is not a case of ‘cookie cutting’ a budget from a different region. “What works well in the Western Cape or Gauteng may be a challenge to implement in Limpopo,” Yvonne says.

Making a difference matters Yvonne has spent her entire career working for the public sector, including more than six years at the Auditor-General and almost three years at the Eastern Cape Provincial Treasury. She joined the National Treasury in July 2016. In all aspects of her current role, Yvonne is dedicated to making a positive difference in how government is run. She enjoys rolling out National Treasury’s in-house public budget training course. “The training gives me the opportunity to impart my knowledge, inspire others and also meet new people. Sharing this best practice makes a real difference to the people doing the work.”




“It is important to be passionate about the work you do and not to be scared to ask for help when needed.” Yvonne is highly motivated by seeing projects that have been budgeted for come off the ground smoothly. This includes visiting sites such as schools to evaluate functioning, or an upgraded health facility where the doctors show how maternal mortality rates have improved thanks to budget provided to fill positions and procure necessary goods and services. While the National Treasury is awaiting the implementation of the much-anticipated integrated financial management system, Yvonne is always looking for ways to reconcile the data in more efficient ways. She chairs the data innovation committee within her chief directorate, where the committee explores how to present financial data in more useful and valuable ways to help inform reports used for decision-making.

A drive to improve Yvonne’s advice to ambitious young finance professionals is to make the most of all opportunities presented to them. This means working especially hard in an early career before the additional pressures of marriage and family. “You need to drive your own continuous selfdevelopment. Yes, your work may put you on an Excel course for example, but this is not simply enough. You always need to enhance your skills yourself. It is important to be passionate about the work you do and not to be scared to ask for help when needed. We can all learn from each other regardless of the position held,” she says. She also recommends finding a mentor to check in with regularly, a practice that she keeps up to this day. On advice from a friend and to keep her skills relevant, Yvonne signed up to complete the ACCA qualification in 2012, adding to her B.Com honours in accounting from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She found that the qualification gave her a more strategic view on finance and the capability to interact on a higher level with the accounting officers and executive management with whom she works. “This is an international qualification that provides a flexible, paced approach to studying. The support that they give members is simply amazing. Aside from the formal studies, there is also career guidance support,



which gives advice, for example, on how to handle a job interview, as well as career opportunities around the world. The peer networks that an ACCA qualification opens up are also very worthwhile,” says Yvonne. Keeping ahead of the industry is something that Yvonne strongly believes in. She completed a two-year University of London Masters in Professional Accounting with a merit pass in 2019. In the coming years, Yvonne plans to continue to make an impact in the finance space by combining her audit experience with an in-depth understanding of the budget and accounting processes.

Not just about the numbers For Yvonne, good communication is the key ingredient in any successful department or organisation. For her department, this has meant being more mindful, including something simple as greeting properly or watching the tone in emails. “In my line of work, we work with various stakeholders and communication, whether it be written or verbal, is critically important." She believes in frank feedback and doesn’t wait for performance assessments with team members to share her views, rather she gives continual input on what is working and what could be done better. “It is important to have the team on board and keep abreast of any developments within the unit. This applies right from the team assistants through to deputy directors. By communicating thoroughly, you give people the opportunity to really own the assignments they’re working on.”

Pressing the stop button Yvonne spends time on the weekend with her husband and two daughters. She loves to explore local attractions or simply visit the zoo with her family, and ensures they get away once each year to experience the beauty South Africa has to offer. She also loves cooking and entertaining friends and extended family. She likes to attend live shows and makes time to do so when her favourite artists are performing. When she is feeling energetic, she pushes herself to keep fit by going on walks. l

The world doesn’t stand still – and neither do we. We spoke to experts in every continent to get their insight into what accountants will face in the next 10 years – and what skills they’ll need to help their organisations succeed. Our groundbreaking global research has enabled us to ensure that we’re equipping our students and members with a unique blend of skills to meet the ever-changing needs of business. With a redesigned Professional level, an innovative case study and an updated Professional Skills module, the ACCA Qualification continues to be at the forefront of the profession.

Find out more at future.accaglobal.com For more information about ACCA, please contact: ACCA South Africa 18 Hurlingham Road, Illovo 2196, Johannesburg, PO Box 924, Saxonwold 2132 Tel: 0860 02 10 10 Fax: +27 (0)11 268 6374 Email: infoza@accaglobal.com




Bryan Groome



CFO South Africa has partnered with leading CFOs, as well as a former CFO and former fraudster, to give finance professionals first-hand insight into becoming a CFO before the age of 40, leading during a crisis, and how fraud has escalated during Covid-19 lockdown.




Tsu Mhlanga


n 5 June, CFO South Africa’s launch webinar event kicked off with Tsu Mhlanga, Italtile executive director: group finance, Bryan Groome, Verimark CFO, and Shabeer Khan, Department of Trade and Industry CFO sharing their insights into “How to become a CFO before the age of 40”. The CFOs started by outlining their entrees into the world of finance, with Bryan saying that he had always been good with numbers, so he studied accounting at school and then a B.Com accounting was a natural progression. Tsu said she was destined to become a doctor or an accountant, but when as a child she ran screaming from a delivery room, it was clear that finance was the route for her. Shabeer said that his father was a teacher and instilled in him a sense of appreciation for education. As he was good at maths, finance was the avenue he chose to pursue. Shabeer and Bryan highlighted the importance of sponsorship, saying that their seniors had played a big role in where they are now. “Because I had the minister behind me in pushing that clean audit strategy, it made a huge difference to improving financial management, discipline and service delivery in the department,” Shabeer said.

Shabeer Khan

“It’s massively important to have people around you that will keep you sane and grounded.” Bryan also said that: “My CEO blew my trumpet, which made it easier for everyone to accept me in that position, to buy into me, and ultimately accept that I was a part of the company.” Asked for one piece of closing advice for the audience, Shabeer urged them to “network, network, network!” Bryan said that while you can keep your eyes on the CFO prize, “don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty, get involved in everything, ask questions.” And Tsu concluded with: “Never compromise on your values as a person.”

Facing up to fraud On 26 June, another webinar entitled, Fraud Thrives in Chaos looked into how fraud must be flourishing during Covid-19, and cautioned that company management and auditors need to work together to fight this scourge.




Ashley Francis

Reformed fraudster Brad Sadler explained why he had been arrested for fraud while working as a head of risk, credit and corporate banking at one of the big banks. Instead of grouping transactions together, Brad kept them separate, to avoid related finance applications from being rejected. “One of the reasons was that this meant we could do business very quickly – we didn’t have to go to the board for approvals – and the other reason was that our turnovers and profits increased.” In the end, Brad lent R70 million to all the clients that he had not grouped. He ended up being arrested because of the potential loss of R70 million by the bank. Brave Inflexions founder and ethics guru Claudelle von Eck then said how you deal with a fraudster depends on which kind of fraudster you are dealing with; a psychopath or someone who has been caught unawares. “Psychopaths lack empathy and remorse, whereas on the other extreme the person does have empathy, is able to understand the ripple effect of their actions and eventually shows remorse. In the latter case, you can start talking about rehabilitation,” she explains. Addressing the current Covid-19 crisis, fraud examiner Mario Fazekas said that he has seen an increase in fraud being committed, and quoted Warren Buffet: “Only when the tide goes out do you see who has been



Mark Godfrey

swimming naked”. He explained that, during Covid-19 the tide has gone out further than it has been for a long time and all the people who have been stealing and defrauding have now been exposed. “With companies under financial pressure, the opportunity to commit fraud has increased,” he said. “There is less segregation of responsibilities because people are being retrenched – even gatekeepers and auditors are being replaced.” Mario predicts an increase in corruption, financial statement fraud and the theft of assets driven by the fear of uncertainty during this chaotic time.

Leaders in the line-up On 15 July, UCT executive director of finance Ashley Francis and Spar CFO Mark Godfrey shared how they are leading their businesses through the challenges of Covid-19. Following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address on 15 March, the UCT senior executive came together and discussed their next steps. Ashley explained that, at that time, they were still in complete denial. The finance team started scenario planning over


Mario Fazekas

the Easter weekend. One scenario was that staff would return to work on 1 June and the other scenario was that they would only return in September. “As we started unpacking those scenarios, it really hit home, because June didn’t seem much of a reality and September, albeit a bit of a stretch, was somehow a reality.”

Claudelle von Eck

“It’s massively important to have people around you that will keep you sane and grounded.”

However, UCT’s estimated date that staff will return to the office has changed to next year.

only suffered one loss within our organisation, but it was a chilling moment.”

Mark explained that, with their Spar business in China, his had already heard about some of the fallout of the virus, “but it was something that was happening elsewhere in the world and we were thinking down at the southern tip of Africa we weren’t going to feel it”.

Ashley said that what has been important for UCT has been its leadership’s decisiveness during the crisis. There’s always been an empathetic attitude towards students and staff, too.

Being an essential service, Spar has carried on trading throughout Covid-19 and lockdown. “Our crisis has been managing our staff’s health and safety, and trying to ensure that we manage the supply chain,” Mark said. “We felt the initial phases, having certain sectors of our business close – like liquor and cigarette sales. We were struggling to understand why the government wouldn’t let us sell rotisserie chickens and why our delis had to close.”

“We also started a digitising process within the finance department in 2019 as part of our change management strategy,” Ashley said. “When we started getting into the lockdown, that messaging of change management and always being empathetic and decisive didn’t change.”

The severity of the crisis really struck home for Mark when Spar lost one of its staff to the virus in the Western Cape. “We’ve been fortunate so far that we’ve

Agreeing that empathy is the right approach, Mark said that Spar has always prided itself on its culture of family values and the relationship that it has with its retailers. He explained that these relationships have been critical, especially during this time of crisis. “You are going to need to rely on some of them.” l









These CFOs have ignored the theory that “opposites attract” in choosing their life partners and have opted for like-minded individuals who have made their own way in the field of finance. Together, these couples have grown as leaders, at home and in business. By Caylynne Fourie




“He was the guy with the shy smile and beautiful blue eyes on the other side of the general office for article clerks.”

Growing together from article clerks to CFOs


aco Maritz is the group COO and CFO of global software company Syspro and is responsible for executing the company’s strategy through its regional structure. Elmarie Maritz is the group CFO of platinum group metals mining company Sedibelo Platinum Mines and focuses on managing the international group structure while executing on the development strategy for the company’s undeveloped assets.

Elmarie admits that it’s great to be able to use Jaco as a sounding board whenever issues are clouded or when she doubts her own judgement.

Jaco and Elmarie met while completing their articles at KPMG. “He was the guy with the shy smile and beautiful blue eyes on the other side of the general office for article clerks,” Elmarie says.

As a family, they enjoy spending time outdoors when they’re not working, whether it’s camping or mountain biking. “We were planning to be in Botswana if it wasn’t for the Covid-19 lockdown,” Jaco says.

They both agreed that because they understood each other’s worlds, they could support each other through their studies and career changes.

With both Jaco and Elmarie working from home during Covid-19, Jaco ensures that he keeps a disciplined routine, making sure that he schedules the required personal and family time.

Jaco explains that there are definitely advantages in understanding common challenges, especially when it comes to work pressure, but because they are in different industries and roles, they end up learning a lot from each other. “We both deal with business problems predominately and being in different industries means our conversations are more about business,” he says.



Jaco and Elmarie have two daughters, Katelyn (14) and Alex (12), that keep them busy outside of work, and while Jaco doubts that they will follow in their parents’ financial footsteps, Elmarie believes that the one daughter might still surprise them.

Elmarie enjoys jogging in the morning before she starts her day at work. “The fresh air helps me to focus and gives me the energy I need for the day ahead.” She also enjoys evenings with her family and reading a few pages from a good book to help her unwind after a busy day.


rett and Candice Tromp met in high school when she was 16 and he was 17. Brett played hockey with Candice’s brother and took an interest in her after one of their hockey matches. After dating for six years, they got

married. Both Candice and Brett believed that the CA route could open up many doors for them, whether it be in audit, in corporate, or running their own businesses. “When we were young, we always loved the idea of travelling and thought that going the CA route would give us these opportunities,” Candice says. Brett currently serves as the CFO of Discovery Health and is responsible for ensuring the company can provide for its members during Covid-19 by adapting and reviewing budgets and expenses to ensure it can pivot quickly if needed. Candice left the corporate world behind to look after their twin boys, Matt and Josh (15) and daughter, Christin (nine). “It has been challenging over the last three months being a Grade 3 teacher,” she says. Both Brett and Candice provide support for two

underprivileged schools, helping them with fundraising and sourcing other essentials. “Over the last four months we have been fundraising for families that do not have jobs and aren’t receiving a grant to help them with food,” Candice says. To stay balanced and focused, they both try to exercise. “I try to take some time to switch off from the kids and demands of the day,” says Candice. When he’s not playing golf, Brett prays and reads Christian literature. “It focuses my mind on what’s really important in life to me,” he says. They love to travel together and have been overseas many times. “Our family believes in memories above materialism,” Candice says. In the last year, their boys have developed a love for golf, so Brett will play with them while Candice and Christin walk the dogs. At this stage, Matt and Josh are focused on becoming professional cricketers, and although they are definitely bright and “do better than their parents ever did at school”, Brett and Candice aren’t sure whether they will be pursuing a CA career. “Christin is young, but who knows, maybe we will get one CA out of the three of them,” Candice says.

“When we were young, we always loved the idea of travelling and thought that going the CA route would give us these opportunities.”

From highschool sweethearts to CAs CFO MAGAZINE • CFO.CO.ZA



“We started off with study debt, a bed and a TV, so we’ve built something together.”

Love at first stock count


hen Anton de Bruyn was doing his articles at Coopers & Lybrand in Bellville, Zyla de Bruyn was a third-year accounting student at Stellenbosch University. Zyla enrolled at Anton’s office to do holiday work to gain practical experience. “A week before university was supposed to start again in January, I got a call from Coopers & Lybrand saying that they were looking for students to assist with stock counts for the Pep store in Touwsrivier,” Zyla recalls. Anton was the article clerk responsible for the store’s stocktake, so the two of them went to the store together. Anton recalls falling for her enthusiasm and passion for life and they started dating later that week. Zyla ended up doing her articles at the same Coopers & Lybrand branch that Anton worked at. She wrote her final honours exam at the end of October the next year and four days later they got married. After Zyla completed her articles, they travelled together to London for two years and worked as vocational accountants. When they returned to South Africa, Zyla was appointed as Shoprite’s auditor through Coopers & Lybrand. But when Anton was appointed as a project accountant at Shoprite, Zyla decided to step down from the role as it became a conflict of interest for the audit firm. Anton was appointed as the CFO of Shoprite in 2018. Zyla and Anton’s professional lives have once again converged, as Zyla now serves as an independent consultant on Shoprite’s Sixty60 project.



Zyla says that it does help that she and Anton both talk the same language and understand the pressure the other person is going through. “It’s good to have someone that, in a professional environment, you can do sanity checks with about things that are happening at work,” she says. “And in that way, we indirectly coach and mentor each other.” At home, as in their careers, Zyla believes they make a great team. “I’ll come up with ideas and do the more creative things while Anton will sense check.” Zyla pushes very hard for the family to spend a lot of time together. “We like going away on weekends and watching television together in the evenings,” Anton says. “The nice thing for us is that we can sit around the table as a family and play board games.” Zyla says that separating work from family life has been a challenge since they got married. “We were both in high-profile jobs and were very involved with what we did. This often meant that we would work morning, noon and night.” That was part of the reason she decided to become a consultant, which allowed her to be more flexible. Anton and Zyla believe that their youngest daughter, Laura, might follow in their footsteps, as she tends to view the world in black and white. “She has a natural flair for business and maths,”says Zyla. However, their eldest daughter, Zea, is more creative and has shown an interest in science.


oth Thobeka and Zamani Ntshiza enjoyed accounting and science in school. Zamani chose to pursue a career in finance after a CA visited his high school to talk about the finance profession. “There were not a lot of black African CAs at the time and I liked the way he was presenting himself and the things he said they do as CAs. He was distinguished and very different from what we were used to.” Thobeka has always been fascinated by people who had acronyms before and after their names and wanted to have a CA(SA) title after hers. She had also been told that passing the board exams and becoming a CA was impossible. “I wanted to challenge that and be the one to pass.” Now, as the CFO of Avis Fleet, Thobeka's focus is on working capital management. “This speaks to the liquidity of the business, and making sure we have the cash to sustain our operations.” Zamani is the country financial director of TMH Africa, a new rail company that is part of an international group from Russia. Thobeka and Zamani were introduced to each other over the phone during the December holidays by a mutual colleague. Thobeka was a vocational student at

Sasol’s Sasolburg branch, while Zamani was working in Sasol’s Johannesburg offices, having just finished his articles. Thobeka says that, in any job, you sometimes get stuck, which is when having another CA in the house comes in handy. “It helps to be able to check in with Zamani, ask him whether he’s come across the same problem before and how he’s dealt with it.” Zamani says the fact that they are both CAs also helps a lot when it comes to planning their family finances. “We both appreciate the importance of budgeting.” Thobeka and Zamani consider their five children a “squad”, with ages ranging between eight and 22 years old. Their two eldest children, Mfanelo (22) and Bongumenzi (21), have already moved out of home and are “nowhere near becoming accountants”. The three younger children, twins Nkanyezi and Zamatolo (11) and Lethuzwano (eight) are still in primary school. “In the evenings we have dinner together as a family and then watch a movie or documentary,” Thobeka says. However, they also insist on spending at least two hours a week away from work and children, when they do things to relax. For Zamani, this means going to the gym or watching sport. For Thobeka, this means getting into her “zone” with uplifting spiritual music or spending some time with her girlfriends.

“We both appreciate the importance of budgeting.”

The Ntshiza squad CFO MAGAZINE • CFO.CO.ZA



“We just ‘clicked’ from day one and couldn’t imagine life without each other.”

Steering to calmer waters



ramy and Kreesan Moodley both hail from a long line of accountants, and with their inherited passion for finance and numbers, there was little chance of them pursuing any other profession.

Despite both graduating the same year at the same university, Pramy and Kreesan’s paths didn’t cross until years later when a mutual friend introduced them. At the time, they were based in different provinces, but managed to travel the 600km for a couple of dates. “We just ‘clicked’ from day one and couldn’t imagine life without each other,” Pramy says “We had so much in common that it seemed natural to take it a step further and make it a lasting relationship.” As the Sappi Southern Africa CFO, Pramy is responsible for managing the business amidst the current Covid-19 crisis, with a focus on managing cash flow and working capital. “We are currently looking at opportunities to steer the Sappi ship to calmer waters,” she says. As a tax lecturer, Kreesan is preparing the next batch of accountants for the corporate world through online



learning. However, he explains that he has to manage the challenge of data accessibility and the impact of load shedding on online learners. In their little free time, both Pramy and Kreesan enjoy spending time with family. “Having young children doesn’t give you much spare time, but the kids help me in the kitchen with baking and they love fishing,” Pramy says. “We have lots of outdoor adventures together.” When he’s not working or spending time with his family, Kreesan also likes to spend time on his treadmill. Pramy ensures that she maintains a healthy work-life balance. Despite the obvious benefits of understanding the challenges they both experience at work, being a finance family has also helped Pramy and Kreesan budget and manage their finances carefully while both being risk averse. Pramy and Kreesan expect their two sons, Kirushen (nine) and Priyen (five), to follow in their footsteps because accounting is definitely in their genes.


lenn and Lauren Fullerton connected on a confirmation camp when they were 16 and started dating. “It was just chemistry,” Lauren says. “We had the same interests and shared the same value system.” Just over seven years later, they got married, and after 28 years, they are still happily together. Both Glenn and Lauren were influenced by Glenn’s father, who is also a CA and was the head of the Inspectorate Division of the JSE for over 20 years, to take up a career in finance. “From a very young age, my father taught me his interest in commerce and stock exchange,” Glenn says. “He’s a very knowledgeable and wise man who has provided fantastic support to both Lauren and myself and has been a provider of sage advice to us over many years. He has always ensured that ethics and principles are the key to his and our existence.” Despite Glenn’s busy schedule as a premier league cricket and hockey player while studying part-time and doing his articles, he and Lauren always found time for each other, even if it just meant studying together. This mutual support has continued into their professional lives. “I think it would be extremely difficult for someone who isn’t finance orientated to put up with my work demands and pressures, and understand the impact that such a demanding role has,” Glenn says. Lauren agrees, saying that they are both a sounding board for one another. Today, Glenn serves as the CFO of Nampak and is

responsible for managing the finances of a complex group that spans over 13 countries with significant operating subsidiaries locally and internationally. For his work at Nampak, Glenn was nominated for the 2018 and 2019 CFO Awards. Lauren has successfully managed her own consulting business for almost two decades, offering outsourced senior financial management services. Now that the children are older, she’s taking on more demanding roles. Her current role is for PPC, supporting the CFO as a financial manager of projects. Their eldest child, Gareth, is completing his fourth year in business science at UCT and has signed on to do his articles with Deloitte, where Glenn also completed his. Their middle son, Cameron, is doing his first year in bachelor accounting science at Wits and has also been signed up with Deloitte. Their daughter, Katherine, is in Grade 9 and enjoys accounting. During Covid-19, they've moved their love of entertaining online, enjoying drinks and meals with friends over weekends. To stay balanced, Glenn ensures that he keeps fit and enjoys long-distance cycling, golf, walking with Lauren, Katherine and their three dogs, and making use of their home gym. Other than a full-time working life, Lauren does Pilates with Katherine, but says, “Nothing beats staying in and reading a book. I’m the couch potato in the family, while everyone else is very sporty and active. I love to veg in front of the TV and binge watch a series every now and then.” l

“I think it would be extremely difficult for someone who isn’t finance orientated to put up with my work demands and pressures.”

Three generations of accountants CFO MAGAZINE • CFO.CO.ZA


Making memories during lockdown Covid-19 and lockdown has left people isolated in their homes, unable to see their family and friends. However, this has not stopped UCT executive director of finance Ashley Francis from making new memories with friends and family. By Caylynne Fourie


Ashley Francis and his wife have been unable to entertain guests like they used to. “Generally, my wife and I would do the occasional dinner and we haven’t done so in a long time,” Ashley says.

Black tie dinner

But they haven’t let lockdown limit their love for entertaining. “We planned a formal, black tie dinner with all the families – one in Paris, one in Constantia, and one in Tokai – online,” Ashley says.

ith the Covid-19 lockdown restricting people from visiting friends and family, people are coming up with new ideas to stay in touch with their families, friends and even their colleagues during this isolating time. Finance executives around the world have certainly been busy navigating the business challenges their organisations are facing, making it even more imperative that they find ways to unwind and blow off steam.

Due to the lockdown, UCT executive director of finance



He is spending lockdown with his wife, daughter of 25 and son of 20. His daughter’s boyfriend is in Paris and while his son’s girlfriend only lives five minutes away from their house, she is not allowed to visit.

Everyone dressed up in their best evening wear and gathered around their own dining table, with a laptop filling the empty space at the table. “Even our dog, Patches, had a bowtie and special meal.”

make a black dot from the burnt end of the cork on your face. Depending on how good you are, or otherwise, you may end up with a face full of black dots from the burnt cork.”

They started dinner together with a toast and a few words of hope about overcoming the challenges we are all facing. As if it was a dinner party, each family had their dinners while conversing online.

The game carried on until well after midnight as the families drank and laughed the evening away like they would have in person. “It was a real fun night and it was very memorable,” Ashley says.

At the end of the dinner, they played a game called Ooblie Dooblie. Everyone “sits in a circle” and passes a cork from a wine bottle burnt on one end to another using an orchestrated phrase which changes as the game progresses. “If you make a mistake, you have to

Lockdown is extremely challenging for families, but for those blessed with internet access and the right attitude, the obstacles presented by social distancing can be overcome. l




The good, the bad, & the ugly of lockdown In the time of Covid-19 social distancing, when South African business is facing unprecedented challenges, CFO South Africa is bringing executive communities together online, to share experiences and learn from others in the same position. CFOs relish this weekly opportunity to let off steam.

Bradley Wentzel



Claudelle von Eck

“You are left scrambling because you’re caught in between not getting paid and not being able to pay people yourself.”


very Wednesday, CFO South Africa hosts its CFO Community Conversations at which leading finance executives come together to hear inspirational speakers, and talk about what they are up to and how they are coping professionally and personally with the threats posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Healthcare at the forefront One of the things that came to light during the first CFO Community Conversation, was that companies in the healthcare sector were dealing with significant pressures, not only from the impact of lockdown on their businesses, but from the very real fact that they have been at the forefront of supporting government in the management of the outbreak. “The healthcare sector is at the forefront of fighting the pandemic, so we’re mobilising all the resources in our group, looking beyond the business to our responsibility as a true corporate citizen towards the nation,” said Elisa Mkhize, Clinix Health Group CFO. “So we’ve been spending a lot of time in exco meetings to ramp up our efforts to also support and collaborate with the government where we can, in addition to the precautionary measures we’ve already implemented from a business continuity point of view."

Fighting for survival One of the industries that has been hit the hardest by the lockdown and Covid-19 is the travel industry. “We’ve been at the forefront of being impacted by Covid-19,” said Flight Centre Travel Group CFO Euan

Euan McNeil

McNeil. “Where a lot of companies felt the brunt when lockdown was put in, we saw the impact of Covid-19 from late January as it spread through other countries.” He explained that Flight Centre slowly started seeing the restrictions on travel from other countries impacting South African air travel. “It was quite an interesting seat to have, seeing the different travel options being pulled off the table.” Flight Centre had nothing to sell as 100 percent of its volumes disappeared and they had to start thinking of a contingency plan. “We had to take on a very long-term view when considering the changes we’ve had to make, not just to survive lockdown but after Covid.”

New way of working Getting used to working from home during those initial lockdown days was one of the factors that CFOs felt had contributed most to their stress. After a long day at his desk with no breaks, Hatch Africa CFO Craig Sumption realised that he couldn't repeat the cycle and stay healthy, so he's taken steps to introduce a better work-life balance. Now, the first thing he does in the morning is utilise a




Mark Kathan

mini trampoline to get some exercise. He’s also been very disciplined about his eating habits, saying that both body and mind play a key role in managing stress. Most of the CFOs have said that they won’t be rushing back to the office and that their companies will be looking at who they can let back into the workplace, and who will need to remain home. The CFOs also agreed that most of the concerns when going back to the office after lockdown will remain around the health and safety of their employees, clients and customers.

Cashflow and payroll management Another aspect of the current crisis that CFOs are finding stressful is having to make decisions about payroll management. One CFO said their company had given employees who were not able to work during lockdown a mix of 40 percent special leave and 30 percent unpaid and annual leave. For employees who were still working, they allocated 70 percent special leave and 30 percent annual and unpaid leave. Some of the other CFOs in the room said they were still paying their employees fully, but that they had cautioned the employees of possibly having to implement similar measures if things got worse. Another extremely pressing concern that CFOs



Ted Willcox

raised was cashflow management. Many in attendance expressed that they were having to formulate new strategies for this, since they supply large retailers who, despite the fact that they were operating as essential services, were unwilling to pay suppliers during the crisis. “You are left scrambling because you’re caught in between not getting paid and not being able to pay people yourself,” Douglasdale Dairy CFO Bradley Wentzel said.

The good among the bad and the ugly Ted Willcox from PepsiCo SSA highlighted some of the “good” that his organisation has uncovered in the crisis. “One of our aspirations as an organisation is to focus on doing things faster. There can be some red tape in a big group like ours and we’ve managed to cut through that over these times by getting the right people in the virtual room at the right time and move forward to rapidly close in on decisions.” Mark Kathan, the CFO of AECI, said that he’s really appreciating the time he is getting to spend with his family. Instead of spending two hours in traffic every day, he’s making time for his children and wife. On the work front, AECI as a chemical company has found opportunities in the crisis. “At the start of the crisis, we commenced the manufacturing of hand sanitiser initially for our staff

“The healthcare sector is at the forefront of fighting the pandemic.”

and our communities as part of our social investment, in order to keep them and their families healthy. But then, some of our customers started enquiring for us to supply them, so now it’s become a business line. We have also started manufacturing large volumes of sanitisers and disinfectants at our German and US facilities, supplying their governments and customers. Thus there are some good business opportunities that have come out of this Covid-19 pandemic. You just have to be proactive and look between the lines for the opportunities.” Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) CFO Pardon Mutasa said it’s good to see that during lockdown, statistics reflect a rapid decline in carbon emissions, and an improvement in the air quality in some of the most polluted countries in the world, like India and China. “It’s a good thing for us and from GBCSA, the time is right for us to encourage these low levels of emissions, and make sure that people understand the effects of carbon emissions – make it business as usual going forward,” he added. “We’re very happy with the conversations going on, I just hope it sticks in our hearts and minds.” l






imes of disruption present us with the opportunity to remind ourselves of an organisation’s founding ideals, our stories and our commitments. How do we get work done and how do we think about our work? Who are we as a company? I am borrowing these words from a recent chat I had with Investec’s Head of People, Lesley-Anne Gatter. I’d be super interested to hear from you how the Covid-19 disruptions have impacted the culture of your company and finance team, so please drop me a note at the email address below to fill me in! For CFO South Africa, it has been back to basics this year: community building. For our founder Alex van Groningen, freely accessible knowledge sharing, networking and career expansion have always been at the core of our mission. Alex, who was a great friend and mentor to me, sadly passed away this year and, in the wake of his passing, the CFO South Africa team has never been more committed to walking in his footsteps and executing on the vision of the entrepreneurial maverick that Alex was. Did you know that Alex started CFO South Africa with the website CFO.co.za in 2011 and that some of the first CFOs ever featured were Eskom CFO Paul O‘Flaherty, Nedbank CFO Raisibe Morathi and Sasol’s Christine Ramon? These days, the website easily attracts over 30,000 visitors each month and has become the preferred online hub for South



African finance professionals. With community at our core, we continue to host the weekly CFO SA Community Conversations that were started soon after the national lockdown was announced. In this online space, finance execs spend 90 minutes talking through some of the most pressing topics of the time. The high number of return guests bear testimony to the fact that now, more than ever, they need the support of and interaction with their community. I am also extremely excited that we have decided to expand the community-building ethos further into the finance profession, beyond executives, with the launch of the Finance Indaba Network. Built on the strong foundation of your favourite finance expo & conference, the annual Finance Indaba, the network will ensure continuous online engagement throughout the year, world-class learning with weekly webinars and – soon – the ability to come together more often than once a year. And thanks to the support from our partners, access – as always – will be completely free. I wish you strength in these trying times, and offer you the support of a community of finance professionals who are focused on the future. Joël Roerig CFO South Africa managing director +27 76 371 2856 jroerig@cfo.co.za

Membership Opportunities

Invest in your people and boost your success and that of your business

Support the CFO community with a membership and grow the brightest stars in your finance team.


Your support allows CFO South Africa to keep growing. A membership is also the best professional gift for two your direct reports. They will be able to attend and benefit from all CFO events in 2020, receive four quaterly editions of the CFO Magazine and will be invited to join weekly online CFO Community Conversations. Meant for: CFO and up to two handpicked senior direct reports. Immediate Benefits: Support the CFO South Africa community

All issues of CFO Magazine delivered to your desk

Exclusive invite to all CFO Summits

Bi-weekly newsletter

Exclusive invite to CFO Awards

Finance Indaba VIP team invite

Exclusive invite to CFO Day

Up to 12 CPD Hours per person

Exclusive invite to CFO SA Community Conversations (Online)

Corporate Membership Investment:

R40,000 ex VAT per annum Terms and Conditions CFO South Africa reserves the right to decline memberships.

Calendar of Events:

15 Oct 2020

Finance Indaba Network

25 Nov 2020

CFO Awards

Contact: John Deane | jdeane@cfo.co.za | +27 81 487 1156 | CFO.co.za

The finance, HR, and planning system for a changing world. In a world that’s always changing, you need systems that help you tackle new challenges, evolve, and grow. And while no one knows exactly what the future of their business will look like, we do know the partner and business system that will get you there. Workday. For a changing world.™

workday.com/za © 2020 Workday, Inc. All rights reserved. Workday, the Workday Logo, and “Workday For a changing world” are trademarks of Workday, Inc., registered in the United States and elsewhere.

Profile for CFO South Africa

CFO Magazine, Issue 3  

In the Q3 edition of CFO Magazine, available for download now: Boipelo Lekubo explains how stepping into the role of Harmony Gold CFO in Mar...

CFO Magazine, Issue 3  

In the Q3 edition of CFO Magazine, available for download now: Boipelo Lekubo explains how stepping into the role of Harmony Gold CFO in Mar...

Profile for jurmorsch

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded