SA’s chartered accountants dominate boards of JSE’s top 200

Last Updated 11 December 2009 07:38:15 AM

A remarkable 25% of the directors of the JSE’s top 200 companies ranked by market capitalisation are chartered accountants [CAs(SA)].

Of a total of 2 084 top 200 directors, 518 are CAs(SA).

The statistics, extracted from board membership of the top 200 at the end of 2008, are contained in an independent research exercise commissioned by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA), the results of which were released today. The 25% is one percentage point higher than the 24% recorded when a similar exercise was conducted four years ago.

“Quite clearly,” says Matsobane Matlwa, Executive President of SAICA, “the business sector is increasingly appreciating the extraordinary benefits an organisation can derive from the expertise of South Africa’s most sought after business designation.”

Underlining the growing dominance of the CA(SA) designation as the qualification of choice in business, more than 90% of the top 200’s chief financial officers hold the coveted designation – a dramatic increase on the 78% of four years back.

Matlwa points out that CAs(SA) have been prominent leaders of the business environment for decades.

“The results of the most recent research are manifest proof of the onerous training disciplines that are so characteristic of every CA(SA). The CA(SA) designation is recognised on an international and local level as the premier business designation because quality is built into every step in the education and training process of the prospective CA(SA).”

Several of the top companies by market capitalisation have their primary listings offshore, with the result that their head offices are staffed predominantly by non-South Africans. Had this not been the case, the CA (SA) designation would have commanded an even higher percentage of the top 200 total.

Matlwa highlights a similar survey, which, early last year analysed the November 2007 Sunday Times Business Times Top 100. The Top 100 ranked JSE listed companies in terms of those that earned the most wealth for their shareholders.

It found that an astonishing 318 CAs(SA) served on the boards of the JSE’s 100 best-performing companies.

“This was a remarkable average of more than three CAs(SA) per board of directors – a phenomenon that highlights the premium that South Africa’s top companies place on the CA(SA) designation and the profound value that chartered accountants add to the success of our winning corporations,” says Matlwa.

He suggests that the number of CAs(SA) serving on the boards of the Top 100 bears a direct relationship to their praiseworthy performances.

“Quite obviously, the number of CAs(SA) serving on these boards could vary according to the nature of their companies’ operations. Thus, for example, an engineering company’s board would tend to boast a proliferation of engineers.

“Even so, these specialised characteristics fail to detract from statistics which demonstrate the massive benefits that CAs(SA) contribute to successful South African companies.” 

“Among the many South Africans who have led the economic revolution are CAs(SA) who qualify as high flying entrepreneurs and dynamic achievers. They include CAs(SA) of the ilk of Stephen Koseff of Investec, Brian Joffe of Bidvest and Whitey Basson of Shoprite.

“And the current generation of CAs(SA) who are business leaders continue the traditions of earlier generations of CAs(SA), which included among its ranks the likes of Donald Gordon and Derek Keys.”

Companies with largest number of board CAs(SA)

SA Corp Real Estate
First Rand

CAs(SA) on the boards of the JSE’s most prominent giants

  • BAT: Dudley Saayman, Mpumela Sondiyazi and Jacobus van Zyl Smith;
  • SAB: Malcolm Wyman;
  • MTN: DDB Band, RD Nisbet, JHN Strydom, AF van Biljon, MJN Njeke and J van Rooyen;
  • Sasol: Kandimathia Ramon, Brian Connellan and Thomas Wixley;
  • Standard Bank: DE Cooper, DDB Band, MJ Shaw and EM Woods;
  • Angloplats: Bongani Nqwababa, Thomas Wixley and Richard Dunne;
  • First Rand: Laurie Dippenaar, Johan Burger, Leon Crouse, Patrick Maguire Goss, Sizwe Errol Nxasana, Ronald Keith Store and Matthys Hendrick Visser
  • Anglogold Ashanti: Prof Wiseman Nkuhlu;
  • Implats: Fatima Jakoet, Thabo Mokgatlha, Niall Carroll, David Brown and Dawn Earp; and
  • Absa: Des Arnold, Brian Connellan, Yolanda Cuba, Shauket Fakie and Jacques Schindehutte.