Alexander Forbes. Picture: MARTIN RHODES
Alexander Forbes. Picture: MARTIN RHODES

After five months without a CFO, Alexander Forbes has appointed a member of the old guard to the position as the company tries to stabilise its executive management team.

The pension fund administrator announced on Tuesday that Bruce Bydawell will take over as CFO from April 1, filling a position left vacant when former CFO Naidene Ford-Hoon resigned in October 2018.

Ford-Hoon resigned shortly after the axing of former CEO Andrew Darfoor, in whom the Alexander Forbes board declared it had “lost confidence” in September.

Bydawell, a chartered accountant and chartered financial analyst with more than 25 years’ experience in different fields of corporate finance, had worked at Alexander Forbes as the group’s financial manager between 1998 and 2010.

David Talpert, speciality finance analyst at Avior Capital Markets, said Bydawell’s appointment was a positive step that will inspire market confidence in the company.

“Bruce has been involved with Alexander Forbes for 16 years. He has also worked as acting CFO, so he should have the necessary knowledge and expertise for the position. I think this appointment is important as it signals a return to some stability after the recent executive turnover,” said Talpert.

Alexander Forbes lost eight executives in the space of six months after Darfoor’s axing. Ford-Hoon and Alexander Forbes Investments CEO Leon Greyling resigned shortly after Darfoor’s departure. In January, the company announced the resignations of Tony Powis, CEO of corporate and employee benefits, Sugendhree Reddy, head of retail financial services, Vishnu Naicker, group chief risk officer, Christian Schaub, chief human resources officer, and Thabo Mashaba, chief empowerment and transformation officer.

The new CEO, Dawie de Villiers, tried to stabilise the ship by appointing new members to the pension fund’s executive committee to look after the business units that had been left without CEOs. Talpert said it is likely this is the beginning of the end of executive changes.

“I think most resignations have taken place. We expect to see new executives being appointed. In contrast to the previous management team’s strategy of bringing in international expertise, we expect local management to be appointed who have an understanding of the South African market.”