Darfoor is kicking the tyres hard at Alexander Forbes
Ghanaian CEO makes some sorely necessary changes
Andrew Darfoor has ruffled more than a few feathers at Alexander Forbes, as any CEO who pulls rank and deals decisively with underperformance would be expected to.
The changes appear to have been so painful that some employees are willing the return of former CEO Edward Kieswetter.Kieswetter left abruptly in February 2016, forcing Forbes to make then chairman Sello Moloko an executive chairman and appoint then chief financial officer Deon Viljoen as interim CEO. Evidently a lack of succession planning on the part of the board meant that no one was waiting in the wings to take over from Kieswetter, a seasoned public servant.
Enter Darfoor, a Ghanaian who grew up in the UK and has lived all over the world, including in the US and France.
His decisive leadership style is probably just what Alexander Forbes needed. And he has wasted no time in making his mark on the organisation, placing several foreigners in charge of key portfolios, such as the group’s corporate and employee benefits unit.
Even the head of human resources is a non-South African appointment, which may seem counterintuitive.
But Darfoor – who says Alexander Forbes needs the expertise of these individuals – has clear plans to build a robust pipeline of black talent in the organisation. He is also undeterred by market noise around his leadership style, which is just as well because he is only one year down in his four-year turnaround plan.