BACKSTORY: The Unlimited’s Andrew Wood
We question CEO of The Unlimited Andrew Wood on his top tip for doing a deal, his first job and the one investment he wishes he’d made earlier
What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?
Be prepared, be yourself. Trust is what seals the deal.
What was your first job?
Working at the American Fudge Factory when I was 17, for two years. My first job out of university was as an articled clerk at Deloitte.
How much was your first pay cheque, and how did you spend it?
At the fudge factory, I earned R10 an hour. At Deloitte I earned R4,000 and bought myself a brand new Titleist Driver and Ping Putter (I am a very keen golfer).
What was the one thing you wish somebody had told you when you were starting out?
My dad actually gave me great advice: be patient and focus on building experience because money follows experience, not the other way around.
What have you most enjoyed or disliked about the lockdown?
I most enjoyed spending quality time with my family. I did not enjoy the fact that I could not get out, run on the road and trails, and not being able to spend time on the beach.
What, if anything, would you have changed about SA’s approach to lockdown?
I think the decision-making team could have been more deliberate in communicating the rationale for certain lockdown regulations.
What would you go back and tell your younger self that would impress him?
I work for, and have the honour of leading, an incredible organisation, The Unlimited, that has shifted my life and continues to shift the lives of thousands of South Africans every day.
What’s the most interesting thing about you that people don’t know?
I think I’m a good handyman, so the majority of fixing and maintenance required at home I try to do myself before calling in an expert.
What is the one investment you wish you had made, or made earlier?
Buying shares in Sasol earlier this year when they hit R30 — just kidding, though that would have been great. I should have started the discipline of putting money away into investments earlier in my career and not waiting for an increase in earnings before starting.
If you were Cyril Ramaphosa, what would you change, or do, tomorrow?
I would influence corporate SA to do more. Everyone needs the dignity of a job and income. Where SA finds itself now, I would be influencing senior leadership in corporate SA to put people before profit and shareholder returns.
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