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“There was a time when the Joffe name might have commanded a premium — but that’s gone now.” Those were Brian Joffe’s own words in a 2009 magazine interview when a pile-up of failed deals showed that the hard-driving entrepreneur, whose extraordinary wealth creation credentials had propelled him to near mythical status, was human after all and prone to blunders and miscalculations. 

One of those deals was while he was CEO of Bidvest, a sprawling conglomerate he built from the ground up over three decades, which bought a nearly 20% stake in Tiger Wheel & Tyre, whose parent company collapsed and forced Bidvest to take hefty writedown charges. Again in the mid-2000s Bidvest teamed up with the taxi industry body group, Santaco, to bring a range of Russian-made commercial vehicles to take on deeply entrenched brands such as Toyota and Isuzu in the informal but lucrative public transport industry.  That did not pay off either.   ..

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