OD Union

Old Diocesan Network

OD Union Business Breakfast

On 7 March we held a Business Breakfast at the Woodlands Pavilion. Our guest speaker was Gareth Penny (1980F). Gareth is non-Executive Chairman of Norilsk Nickel, the world’s largest producer of nickel and palladium and one of the leading producers of platinum and copper. Gareth is also Executive Chairman of New World Resources plc., one of Europe’s largest hard coal producers, listed on the London, Prague and Warsaw stock exchanges. He is a non-Executive Director and RemCo Chairman of Julius Bär Holding Limited, Switzerland's leading, dedicated wealth manager. Gareth also serves on the Senior Advisory Board of TowerBrook Capital Partners (TCP), a successful New York and London based investment firm. Discussion points presented by Gareth: -


The challenges can be summarised by 8 “C”s. These challenges are relevant not just for South Africa, but most developing economies.

1. Confidence (especially political)
2. Corruption
3. Crime
4. China (its changing role)
5. Commodities (price decline)
6. Credit Rating (under pressure)
7. Currencies (volatility)
8. Climate Change

Unless properly managed, these challenges could lead to CRISIS. The Chinese character for crisis is Danger + Opportunity!

So, what are the opportunities to grow our businesses and the South African economy?

1. Clarity of purpose (all businesses need the focus to succeed. Examples used were SAB Miller v. Anglo American)
2. Competitive advantage (example used was Norilsk Nickel)
3. Creativity (willingness to take risk)
4. Compliance / Corporate governance. (Example – conflict diamonds and the need for sustainability)
5. Concentration (the best ideas are ones where there is scale)
6. Continent (the African continent offers extensive opportunities. Example – Christo Wiese and PEP stores)
7. Capital (human and financial)
8. Contacts (example used was Etonpreneurs programme and the desirability to introduce this at Bishops).

Again, I urge ODs to get involved in our mentoring system and to sign up on our LinkedIn page https://www.linkedin.com/groups/7421444

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