“Long Live Michael Zipp, Long Live” By Lindsay Grubb
In true South African style, with South African flags waving in their hands, the choir lined either side of the red carpet and sang praises to
enthusiastically danced his way to his seat. He grinned as he opened his first gift from the choir - a Tshirt, with a smiling Michael on the front, and on the back the words, “Farewell to Our Hero, Dr Michael Zipp.”
Human Resources Executive, Hartley Ngoato, welcomed the staff of Henkel South Africa to the farewell lunch for Dr Michael Zipp, a man who will be remembered fondly for always greeting everyone with a smile. After running through the event itinerary, there was an emotional tribute to “Our Hero” as the Choir lifted their voices as one to sing Hambe Khale, Farewell to Dr Michael Zipp, President and Country Manager Adhesive Technologies and Member of the Board of Henkel SA.
The staff had spent much of their week putting together a tribute video for Michael to be given to him along with print outs of all the well wishes that were emailed during the week.
Dr Michael Zipp is a leader who dedicated the past seven years to working closely with the Board of Henkel South Africa to overcome some difficult challenges and bring stability and steady growth to Henkel South Africa. He was also instrumental in securing the successful BEE partnership between Henkel South Africa and Vuyo Investments. He believes the success of this partnership is because as a Board the decision was made together and the right partner was chosen. He leaves behind him a legacy of hard work, co-operation, giving and understanding. His typically German fastidiousness was legendary and he was known as a leader who would treat others respectfully.
But perhaps for those living around the Henkel site in Alrode, it is his compassion and his desire to make things better in the area in which he worked that stands out most of all. It was only fitting therefore, that the children of Tamaho Nursery School Project were in attendance at Michael’s farewell.
In keeping with Henkel’s global drive towards achieving sustainable development and to uplifting the communities, in which they operate, Henkel South Africa began the Tamaho Nursery School project roughly four years ago. After many reports of accidents involving unsupervised pre-school children in the Tamaho Township, it was decided to launch the project which was funded by MIT and through private donations from employees and former members of the Henkel management team. The nursery school cares for more than 30 children, who are cared for by trained nursery school teachers and each child receives three meals a day through this initiative. The project was spearheaded and championed by Michael Zipp, and has become something very near and dear to his heart. It is a project he aims to replicate in Cape Town under the name the Hamlet Project.
The Tamaho children enjoyed a lunch of burgers and chips and then showed their appreciation for all the Michael Zipp has done for them and for their community. The children’s voices rang out as they sang “This body is nobody’s but mine” which received huge smiles and applause from the luncheon’s guests. Then a young boy called praises for Michael before the teachers at Tamaho handed him his gift, a beautiful artwork for his wall and a Tamaho nursery school T-Shirt.
After the main course was over, incoming
Steyn, thanked Michael on behalf of the Management and Shareholders for the contribution he has made to Henkel South Africa over the past seven years and passed on their best wishes for his future in Cape Town. He reiterated that Michael will still be involved in a consulting capacity with Henkel South Africa and the SubSaharan region and that the Board was grateful for the ongoing assistance which he will provide.
It is not just his German fastidiousness that is legendary. Michael is also know for his zany sense of humour, and quickly had the staff laughing as he waved his “green book” in the air in triumph. He thanked the management and staff for their support and contributions during his time with Henkel South Africa. He thanked everyone for always making him feel part of the team, and insisted that Henkel’s successes were as a result of everyone pulling together as a team to get the job done. He reflected on the integration of National into the Henkel Alrode offices, and what a huge task it was and how it had been achieved successfully.
Michael shared his personal reasons for moving on with the staff, saying that he felt it was time to move on, but that he had made a promise to his wife Carol, that when she gave up her career with Henkel in London and moved to South Africa to be with him, that they would stay in South Africa. Carol is now the GM at a boutique hotel in Cape Town and Michael is moving there to be with her and support her in her new career, after endless weekend commutes between the Mother City and Jozi.
He promised that he would be back in Johannesburg regularly to recharge his batteries and that he would see everyone from time to time. He wished everyone well and thanked them for the wonderful send off, which was so much more than he expected it would be. Hambe Khale Michael Zipp, we wish you everything of the best in Cape Town and we’re sure that you will be successful with the Hamlet Project and anything else to which you put your heart and mind.