BACKSTORY: Mohammed Akoojee
We question Mohammed Akoojee, group CEO of Imperial
What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?
Always be patient and leave something on the table for the other party — it should not be a one-way negotiation.
What was your first job?
I worked at my uncle’s general dealer shop during school holidays when I was in primary school.
How much was your first pay cheque and how did you spend it?
My first pay cheque while serving my articles was about R4,000 a month and I spent it on my family.
What is the one investment you wish you had made, or made earlier?
I wish that I had started leisure travel at an earlier age because there are so many positive experiences that come from travelling and immersing yourself in different cultures.
What is the one thing you wish somebody had told you when you were starting out?
When making career decisions, prioritise opportunities over money.
What’s the most interesting thing about you that people don’t know?
I am an aspiring chef and love trying out new recipes.
Was there ever a point at which you wanted to trade it all in for a different career?
Yes, I would have liked to run my own restaurant or play cricket for SA.
What’s the hardest life lesson you’ve learnt?
Not everyone will support your success. And always make the right decisions, not the most popular ones.
What do you see as the most overrated virtue?
If you could fix only one thing in SA, what would it be?
As a generalisation, South Africans tend to be very negative about our country. We should change those negative mindsets and attitudes by focusing on the positive attributes and supporting the country’s growth of our country.
What is something you would go back and tell your younger self that would impress them?
One day, you will travel the world.
If you were President Cyril Ramaphosa, what would you change, or do, tomorrow?
I would accelerate collaboration and involvement of business in key decision-making processes with regard to the development of our country.
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