You don’t go from growing up in a small town to leading a billion-rand equity firm with sheer luck. As Dion Mhlaba’s story shows, it’s a long and bumpy road to the corner office.
Dion Mhlaba was only 29 when he became the chief financial officer of RH Managers, a private equity firm managing a fund of R1,4 billion (yes, you read that correctly) – more money than most people see in a lifetime. Two years later, when the firm created the subsidiary RH Bophelo and listed it on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, Mhlaba became the youngest black CFO of a listed company.
To put that into perspective, consider a 2014 survey by the SA Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica), which revealed that 75% of directors in JSE-listed companies are white and 93% are over 40.
Mhlaba’s the exception to a deeply entrenched rule, thanks to sheer hard work and determination. Those were essential qualities for an ambitious boy who was one of six children of a police officer and a housewife in Bushbuckridge, Gauteng, a town that’s not exactly renowned for its success stories.
According to 2016 statistics, its population of fewer than 600 000 has an unemployment rate of 85%. Earning the first position in his matric commerce class and the third position overall proved to be Mhlaba’s ticket out.
Source: 21 NOVEMBER 2017 – Destiny Man