Dr Sibusiso Sibisi. Picture: BRETT ELOFF/BUSINESS DAY
Dr Sibusiso Sibisi. Picture: BRETT ELOFF/BUSINESS DAY

Wits Business School (WBS) has announced the appointment of a former University of Cape Town (UCT) deputy vice-chancellor as its new head, with effect from January.

The school will no doubt be hoping that Sibusiso Sibisi will help usher in a new era of stability following frequent leadership changes at the institution.

This has hurt the school’s reputation and fuelled perceptions that the head of school did not enjoy the same level of operational and budgetary autonomy as that enjoyed by business schools at other universities.

In July, the university appointed former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene as interim head and also tasked him with assisting in finding a substantive head.

Nene replaced Steve Bluen who had had held the postion for three years.

Sibisi comes with an impressive CV: he has a PhD in maths from Cambridge University, was a Fulbright Fellow at the California Institute of Technology in the late 1980s and later was a senior research associate at Cambridge University.

Apart from having served as deputy vice-chancellor (research and innovation) at UCT, he had a 14-year stint as president and CEO at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

"He is well known for having built it into a world-class research institution during his tenure," Prof Imraan Valodia, dean of Wits’s faculty of commerce, law and management, said in a statement. "He brings that rare combination of a proven pedigree as a leader at the highest level, world-class research excellence and managerial strength that we have been looking for to lead the WBS." Sibisi also served on the boards of a number of commercial entities including Harmony Gold, African Rainbow Minerals, Murray & Roberts and ,currently, Liberty and Telkom-BCX.

"This experience will prove invaluable as WBS continues to develop and advance its current and new offerings while strengthening its role within in the business community," Prof Valodia said.

In September 2007, Sibisi was awarded the Order of Mapungubwe by then president Thabo Mbeki in September 2007 According to Valodia, Sibisi "brings that rare combination of a proven pedigree as a leader at the highest level, world-class research excellence and managerial strength that we have been looking for to lead the WBS. "

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