The deal maker is back
Brian Joffe: Why I couldn’t retire
The entrepreneurial dynamo who turned Bidvest into a multibillion-rand conglomerate, retired last year. Now he’s making a comeback, saying he wants to build something, and to see people grow
It was always going to be a tall order, expecting Brian Joffe to walk away from Bidvest, the bold conglomerate he founded, and step meekly into retirement. So revelations last week that he hasn’t been able to resist the deal-making bug, and will list a new "lifestyle investment" company called Long4Life on the JSE this week, weren’t entirely surprising. As a testament to the esteem in which Joffe is held, his start-up has already raised R2bn of funding, including money from Standard Bank and Investec. Surprisingly, in an interview with the Financial Mail this week, he said he had actually planned to take it easy once he left Bidvest last year, after 28 years. "Before I retired from Bidvest, I really was intent on doing nothing, to be honest. But time erodes that kind of enthusiasm," says Joffe, looking relaxed and tanned. The seed for his new business was planted on a cruise to Alaska last August. Though he relinquished his role as CEO of Bidvest last May, he still held an executive...