Balancing Technical Strength with Emotional Intelligence

Pedro De Matos brings a depth of experience to his position as Group CFO at Ingenia Polymers, and he provides insights into what makes a well-rounded CFO and how the next generation of CFOs can be developed.

CIARAN RYAN: Today’s podcast is sponsored by Draftworx, which provides automated drafting and working paper financial software to more than 8000 accounting and auditing firms and corporations. CFO Talks is a brand of the South African Institute of Business Accountants. It’s my great pleasure to welcome Pedro De Matos, who is group CFO for Ingenia Polymers and that’s a position that he has held since 2017. It’s a position that calls for a multidisciplinary approach, Pedro takes care of finance, IT, HR, procurement and supply chain management. He also manages merger and acquisition activity across the group and he’s also in charge of the group’s treasury operations. Before that, he was global head of operations for TCS John Huxley, that’s the world’s leading supplier of live gaming solutions and before that, he was managing director for Aristocrat Technologies, another gaming company, in charge specifically of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Pedro is a CA with a track record of implementing turnaround and growth strategies across several different companies. First of all, welcome Pedro, and where are we talking to you from today?

PEDRO DE MATOS: Thank you, today I am based out in sunny Dubai, thank you for having me.

CIARAN RYAN: Sunny Dubai, what’s the temperature today?

PEDRO DE MATOS: It’s 42 degrees but with the humidity it probably feels like 50 degrees. I’m glad to be indoors [laughing].

CIARAN RYAN: And the air conditioning is working well, I hope?

PEDRO DE MATOS: Yes, it’s working perfectly well, thank you.

CIARAN RYAN: You obviously sound South African, tell us about Ingenia Polymers and what it does.

PEDRO DE MATOS: Ingenia is principally engaged in the production and sale of antioxidising preparations, compounds, stabilisers, masterbatches, polyethylene propylene and polystyrene compounds. We mainly service and provide products to the petrochemical and plastics conversion industries.

CIARAN RYAN: How have trading conditions been during lockdown? Just give us a little sense of how that’s impacted business.

PEDRO DE MATOS: Well, as the industry that we work in was viewed as a critical need industry,

we continued to operate throughout the whole pandemic. So we had a fairly good year in 2020, simply because there was an increase in demand, especially for flexible packaging. It was interesting that before the pandemic there was a lot of spotlight on plastics and so on but then, of course, when the pandemic came, people needed to have disposable, reusable or plastic that we use, so especially on the film packaging, so there was a bit of an uptake. This year, what we have seen is that there’s a shortness in supply across certain raw materials and also, of course, the supply chain. The availability of containers and shipping lines is causing a little bit of turmoil when it comes to supply. So far we are goo where we’re at and we’re in a good position halfway through the year already.

CIARAN RYAN: And your production facilities, are they scattered across different geographical zones? Tell us about that.

PEDRO DE MATOS: Yes, we have two production facilities in Canada, one is in Ontario, near Toronto, the other one is in Alberta in Calgary. Then we have another two facilities in Houston, Texas, we have another facility in Saudi Arabia and we’re just in the process of starting one up here in the UAE. We also recently acquired a facility in India. So the India and Abu Dhabi facilities are fairly new and they are still in the process of being set up. But the mainstay has been the North American operations and the one in Saudi Arabia.

CIARAN RYAN: Do you have any presence in South Africa?

PEDRO DE MATOS: Not a physical presence but we sell into South Africa. We work with customers there and that’s one of the reasons I was down there last year and we provide to them from our factories around the globe as needed.

CIARAN RYAN: I’m just looking at your CV here, you’ve got quite a long track record in gaming. Maybe just go back to the beginning and tell us about your career, where did you grow up and how did you arrive where you are now.

PEDRO DE MATOS: I grew up in Johannesburg, my family actually came across from Mozambique, so I grew up in Johannesburg and went to Jeppe High School for Boys. I finished high school at Jeppe and then I did my studying part-time, partly because my dad took out a student loan and he wanted me to learn the importance of managing your finances and so on. At the same time it was valuable lessons that I learnt, so I’m very grateful for that, but I was studying as well as working part-time. I did my studies through Unisa and then I did post-grad through the University of KwaZulu-Natal and then I graduated and got my chartered accountancy. But in the process of doing that part-time work I was approached by Deloitte, I had a conversation with them and they said, look, you are doing all this work, these part-time jobs here and there, why don’t you just come and do your articles and join us. So I did my articles with Deloitte in Woodmead, Sandton, Johannesburg. Then after that I joined one of our customers, they were in the publishing and non-profit field. So I did that and my twenties was probably a collection of different industries, so I spent very short periods of time but I went from non-profit, publishing, to manufacturing, to mining, to coal mining and then I ended up, as you pointed out, in the gaming industry. I started with Aristocrat and basically spent about eight-and-a-half years with them and then from there I progressed to TCS John Huxley. It’s been an interesting career with a very diverse background. I forgot to mention that I also did a bit of banking for my sins, I was in the banking world for a period of time as well.

CIARAN RYAN: Which bank were you with?

PEDRO DE MATOS: I was with Absa Bank, I did a bit of trade finance for a period of time, which was good fun as well. As I said, in my twenties I was trying to see where I was going to go and trying to get a different flavour for different industries and then just before I turned 30 is when I joined the gaming industry and I spent eleven-and-a-half years in the gaming industry. Since then I have now been in the plastics industry. So, again, it’s completely different but it’s great, it’s good fun.

CIARAN RYAN: You’ve been out of South Africa since 2012, is that correct?

PEDRO DE MATOS: Yes, that’s correct, actually, ironically, I left in…I seem to always leave different countries around May, June, for some strange reason. So it was around May 2012.

CIARAN RYAN: Do you have a family, and you have to relocate your entire family, how does that work?

PEDRO DE MATOS: Yes, when I moved to London I was on my own and then I met someone and got married, they were on the opposite side but now my family has moved with me as I have gone from country to country. So it’s been an interesting journey since 2012, I think I have lived in three or four different places.

‘When you have a very open and transparent style of leadership, it can be very refreshing and welcoming.’

CIARAN RYAN: Tell us a little bit more about your professional life, specifically what I would like to hear from you is what would you say is the greatest challenge that you’ve had to face in your career?

PEDRO DE MATOS: I think the interesting thing is that there’s a general perception that sometimes CFOs or someone who is a chartered accountant, that we tend to be a bit grey. I suppose you haven’t met me in person but probably from my coming across to you on this podcast, you can hear that I am a people’s person, I’m quite interactive and I tend to have a bit of a personality [laughing]. So I think that is what I find interesting is that when I first came in, people were a bit apprehensive, this guy is a bit more loud than normal. We wanted this grey, quiet accountant in the corner. I’ve always been a bit more lively and I think also my leadership style has always been very open and transparent. A lot of my mentors over the years have always said that it’s a great quality to have but at the same time it can be an Achilles’ heel. That’s probably where I have had my greatest professional challenge because I think when you have a very open and transparent style of leadership, it can be very refreshing and welcoming to some people because they always know where they stand with you, but it can also sometimes be an Achilles’ heel, it can be used in a different manner against you that you wouldn’t expect and then sometimes you have to be a bit more guarded. I think that’s probably one of the biggest things I’ve had to face. I think the normal run of the mill dealing with regulators and tax authorities and different changing accounting standards, I think that just goes with the job and part of the flow. So I think that’s for me more about how does your leadership style and way of working fit in and how do you get to work with all the different issues and you adapt to the environment that you’re working in, but at the same time, don’t lose who you are as a person. I think that that to me is fundamental anyway.

CIARAN RYAN: We’re also joined on the line by Nicolaas van Wyk, who is the chief executive officer of the South African Institute of Business Accountants. Nicolaas, you’ve been listening there in the background to what Pedro has been saying, and maybe you want to fire off a couple of questions to him. I think it’s an interesting story that he’s telling about his career in a number of different industries and also the style of management, being this is something that we’ve spoken about before, is the changing role of the CFO. It’s a lot more to do with people than with figures. Nicolaas, have you got anything that you want to add to that?

NICOLAAS VAN WYK: Thanks Ciaran, I’m just reading through Pedro’s LinkedIn profile again and what struck me is the diversity of experience. I see there is a strong technology perspective, he was COO, the global head of operations and now group CFO. So just to Pedro, how did you move from COO, obviously studying accounting first, doing your articles but ending up as a COO and then moving back into the finance role, was that helpful, would you recommend that to professionals wanting to go into the CFO role. How important is that strong COO background?

PEDRO DE MATOS: I think that’s a good question. I think for me, what I was fortunate with when I was working at Aristocrat, at the time the MD who I was working with, William, he realised that I had the finance capability, but he also realised that I had the ability to understand the business, but also be a people person and be able to engage with customers, as well as suppliers. So to use an expression, I was let out of the cage a bit, and I found that very valuable because with that…numbers tell you one thing but it’s always important to have that face-to-face contact so that you can see some of the challenges that your sales team could be facing and also, if you’re engaging with procurement or suppliers, you can see what the supply chain is facing as well. So that was my transition path and at a certain point in Aristocrat I went from being financial manager to financial director Africa to regional financial director to a business unit financial director and eventually I was the general manager because I had that ability. I would certainly say it gives you a broad perspective of what’s going on in the business and I think sometimes if you’re just a numbers person, you try to just apply the numbers and you’re not in touch with what can really happen in operations, sometimes there can be some tensions there. So I think it was valuable for me and I think with me having been in the operational side, having run sales teams, having worked with them on the operations and actually being across the desk from another CFO and understanding where he’s coming from, I found that very helpful. When I get into businesses that’s where I’ve been able to very quickly see what can we do in the case if we see there’s a possibility to turnaround or improve performance. I think having that both sides of the fence is really good and that’s where we talk about the changing role of the CFO, it’s no longer about just doing numbers, it’s about really being a true business partner and supporting your CEO, as well as the rest of your executive team in delivering their operational needs. So having been on the COO side and being on the CFO side, I think that adds value and I recommend to someone that if you have the opportunity, sometimes it’s a bit of a sideways move but at least you have the opportunity to do that, and I would certainly recommend to do that.

NICOLAAS VAN WYK: Thank you for that, it’s quite insightful, you mentioned three things and that is finance, business and people. Just two follow-up questions, the first one is, is it a personality perspective because we interview many CFOs and we tend to find that the ones who are more adventurous or, like you said, more transparent, there’s really something that resonates, I can hear it from your voice and I can read it on your LinkedIn profile, versus when we discuss more from a technical accountant approach, then there’s something different in the personality of the person. So there are various personality traits and something that I’m interested in is does being a successful CFO require a certain type of personality or can it be taught and learnt. The second question is how would you go and set about if you identified that this person would be a future CFO, would you purposefully place him in a different department of the organisation?

PEDRO DE MATOS: Answering the first question, I think we have to be careful not to put people into blocks. Yes, I think that like I have an outgoing personality and that probably has made me successful as a CFO, but I also believe that those CFOs who are more inclined to be on a…I call them, if you did a DISC profile of the individual and they have high compliance levels, they have high attention to detail, that can also make an excellent, well-rounded CFO. It just depends on the type of business and what you really need. There are certain business principles that are uniform and that’s what I have learnt in all the different industries that I have worked in, certain business principles are consistent across but in some businesses, for example, in gaming, probably having a more outgoing personality as a CFO it was helpful, it was helpful to the MD who I was supporting, it was helpful to the CEO who I was supporting at the time. Whereas perhaps in a different environment you’d want more of a calm, quiet, collected CFO, someone who is more compliance focused and they could be a superstar there. So I think it’s good to have a mixture of the two, so I wouldn’t try to categorise that it has to be one or the other because it depends on the business requirement and the need. Some could be a hybrid, where they could be both, I tend to think of myself as a hybrid, very strong outgoing but I can also be very compliance-orientated and someone who likes to make sure that you’re compliant in everything that you do and there’s no deviation at all. In terms of your second question, I think it’s important that if you see someone…because I do believe and there have been a lot of write ups where the role of the CFO is really changing to be more of that business partner. So I think that it is important that if you do see someone who is a young talent who has the technical strength, understands the numbers, understands what those numbers mean and how those numbers can be interpreted to add value to the business and add value to the business partners you are working with, I do think it’s important that as part of that journey to get to CFO, that that young financial manager or financial director is given different opportunities. So if I look at, for example, right now one of the people who I have underneath me, he basically came into the business as a financial analyst, from there we actually moved him into planning, so he worked with planning, understanding what was required with scheduling the plants, he was going through all the plants and from there he has now moved back into more of a finance role, where he’s the VP of finance for the operations in North America. I think his next move would probably be to probably head up a small business unit or look after a business unit and ultimately even succeed me. That will give him the all-round experience that he needs to be able to be a successful business partner to the CEO and the rest of the executive team because the CFO, at the end of the day, he or she holds the purse strings and it’s critical to understand all the ins and outs. I sometimes use the example that we are like the heart of the human body, where we get cash coming in and cash going out, and we need to make sure that it goes to all the right areas so that we can keep functioning, growing, developing and moving forward. I think if you understand those concepts and you’ve worked in different departments as well, you get to see where the pressure points are and how you can perhaps help with the interpretation of the numbers to relieve those pressure points.

The changing role of the CFO

CIARAN RYAN: Just sticking on that point a little bit, the changing role of the CFO and the accountant, just maybe talk about that for a minute, how you’ve seen that change over the years. Let’s just say over the last decade, is it less compliance required, is it more of a people’s type of position?

What are the changes you’ve seen?

PEDRO DE MATOS: It’s interesting because from a compliance perspective I think there’s a lot more compliance now that we have to deal with. There’s an ever-changing dynamic in financial reporting and accounting standards. There are a lot more challenges on taxation, there was this talk about having this global tax system in place. So I think compliance still remains a very strong core. But again, being the CFO, not just being the person who presents the numbers and says what’s going on, that’s where I think it’s changed. Historically, we used to always give you what has happened. Now, what we need to do is we need to give you what has happened, but at the same time, tell you what we think is coming down the line., and if there are any compliance obstacles or hurdles in the way that could affect individual executives or the company as a whole. So we help to keep the engine room going but also interacting with all our fellow executives and making sure that we provide the resources, and in this case funding, to ensure that it goes to where it’s needed most to ensure the survival of the business and the growth of the business. I think what you are seeing now is a lot more CFOs automatically are looking after HR. When I first started, I was given IT, I’d always somehow have IT but you see a lot more now that it’s IT, HR and then they add a few more other things like I was given procurement and supply chain, but that’s where I see the people side is coming out. So I think that has become more of a focus, I think the people side has become a lot more important but the compliance side is still there. There’s a lot of regulation, you’ve got to make sure that there’s no tax base erosion, make sure that you are statutory compliant across all the jurisdictions you operate in, and those compliance levels are becoming more and more because there’s more and more regulation coming in, so I think it’s a balance between the two, they just seem to be coming up at the same level. So you have to always have equal strength in both fields.

CIARAN RYAN: I see from your profile that you’ve had directorships in many different jurisdictions from Africa to Europe, Middle East, North America. Is there any place in particular that stands out as posing particular difficulties when it comes to managing a business, are some jurisdictions kinder to business than others?

PEDRO DE MATOS: Yes, I think one of the jurisdictions that I found challenging was probably France because some of the statutory and the requirements there are still probably from the Napoleon time. They are evolving now with Macron being in power, he’s trying to make some changes, although as you’ve probably seen in the news, he comes up against resistance from time to time. So I found France quite challenging because you had to really understand the statutory and the changes there. In terms of ease, I found the UK was pretty easy, it’s stock standard, you know what you have to do, they’ve been around for long enough, so I found that jurisdiction was very good. I must say, here in the UAE it’s still a very young, developing country as well, they are in their fiftieth year but they really are trying their utmost to be a really business-friendly environment. I find that they are open to ideas and trying to make sure that it promotes business, not only for the better of the country but also for the better of business itself.

CIARAN RYAN: Okay and how much of what you apply daily in your work comes from experience and how much from learning, would you say?

PEDRO DE MATOS: I would say probably 60% comes from experience and 40% from learning. As a chartered accountant we are required to do continuous professional development, so we’re always learning. But 60% of it comes from experience because there are some things that you learn but it’s also how you apply that in the business sense. So it’s important to have a balance of both, understanding the theory and the learning but also then the application and the experience is important when it comes to how you’re going to apply those learnings that you’ve had. If you’ve had the experience, you can very quickly make sure you’re going in the right direction. So I would say 60/40.

CIARAN RYAN: Nicolaas, you may want to jump in here. I think one of the things I wanted to just pivot to is this changing role of the CFO and there’s a lot of research coming out internationally about that. I think the one study out of Canada is called from CA to CFO, and that’s really focusing on the different qualities that are expected of the CFO. Things like we’ve been talking about, team leadership and strategy, things that are not taught in the accounting school. This is one of the reasons for the CFO (SA) designation, which is offered by the South Africa Institute of Business Accountants to recognise senior finance executives for this. Nicolaas, do you want to talk about that and why you decided to launch this particular designation.

NICOLAAS VAN WYK: It’s exactly as Pedro described now, based on these interviews that we’ve been doing with the CFOs, one of the areas was is it possible for a professional body to set up a career path for future CFOs and what is required by CFOs. We found this research in Canada by Queen’s University that sets out 34 competencies, much of what Pedro just described. We also discovered that many CFOs these days come from different backgrounds other than accounting. So in the United States, traditionally it was CPAs who became CFOs but that has now dropped to about 36% of all listed company CFOs and we find the same in Europe, where nine out of ten CFOs don’t come from an accounting background. I think it addresses the need of companies to focus on that operations and IT and HR side. Also, what Pedro has said, the type of company, for example, Hollard’s CFO, who we interviewed a few weeks ago, he’s from an actuary background but he’s functioning as a CFO. So we are a professional body that is building members and building networks and we wanted to respond, so we engaged with SAQA and registered a designation for this type of person who studies, gets their articles, gains the mid-management experience, moves into a strategic position and obviously then it’s a much more mature person, it takes eight to ten years to get to that role, and then register the designation CFO (SA), certified financial officer. Then when we did that, we discovered that there’s a whole world of CFOs out there building their own network, and we joined the International Association of Financial Executives Institutes, and that’s in 22 countries, and our aim is to build a solid development foundation for future CFOs because of the economic contribution they make, not only in their companies, but as I listen to people I can hear how involved they are in development, training and structuring. So the world needs more CFOs like that, if we have better, successful companies, we have got better economies, there are more taxes, there’s more development. So it’s important for us as a professional body to fine-tune that development process to get to a better result.

CIARAN RYAN: Pedro, have you got any comments on that, do you want to follow up on that?

PEDRO DE MATOS: Yes, I think that’s great that that has been put together and I think it makes a lot of sense because I think it’s probably been, as Nicolaas pointed out, down to individual CFOs and they’re doing their own networking. So I think having a structured path that allows you to get to that point where you can differentiate the importance of understanding your technical strength and the knowledge that you have and the application of that knowledge, but at the same time, also balancing it with that emotional intelligence that you need to be that people’s person, so that you can be that valued business partner to the team, not only to your CEO, but to the board and as well as to the rest of your executive team.

Managing a globally diverse team remotely

CIARAN RYAN: Just a point that I wanted to bring up with you earlier, was during the Covid lockdowns, are you managing your teams remotely or are you doing this face-to-face? How is that working?

PEDRO DE MATOS: The majority of my team I actually manage remotely because I have my head of finance in North America, he sits in Houston, as I mentioned earlier. Then I have my other finance individual who sits here in the Middle East region and then the majority of my finance team sits in India. So it’s a diverse geography. I actually prefer face-to-face, personally, because when face-to-face you get to see people’s body language and reaction. But thank goodness to things like BlueJeans, Zoom and Microsoft Teams, at least now you can have video interaction. I think what the Covid situation has forced is that in the past when you did those video conferencing, people would tend to switch the videos off but now with the Covid situation because you couldn’t actually spend face time, you spend face time by video time, if that makes sense. I still think that face-to-face is very valuable and I think it’s important that you often have that face-to-face contact, I think it’s important for the individual, as well as yourself as a leader because there are certain things that you would not be able to get off a remote leadership. As I said, at the moment it’s been majority remote because of Covid everyone in all of the jurisdictions has had a challenge in the last 18 months.

CIARAN RYAN: Okay, just a couple of questions here before we wind down. I want to thank you very much for giving us that background and also I think your experience is very rich, both in terms of the different geographies you’ve worked in the different industries. I think that the depth of experience that you bring, I have found this to be a fascinating discussion. But going back to some personal issues here, what do you do in your downtime? You said that you’ve got a family, they’re with you in Dubai, what do you do for fun?

PEDRO DE MATOS: For fun, you still have that South African blood in you, so I enjoy watching the rugby and the cricket. Whenever our national team is out there, I enjoy getting together with friends, having a braai and watching a good game. Unfortunately, we lost the other day but it’s still good to watch.

CIARAN RYAN: Sorry, for people who don’t know what you’re talking about, I presume you are talking about the British and Lions game?

PEDRO DE MATOS: Yes, the British and Springboks game. We were up there and a couple of tries were disallowed but at the end of the day, it was a good game, so it was good to watch. I also enjoy watching football, obviously with a name like Pedro I have a Portuguese background, so I watch quite a bit of football and I grew up with a lot of football. Then I also like to do running, it’s a bit difficult at the moment in the heat in Dubai. But generally, that’s my quiet time, where I get to have 45 minutes to an hour where I can just zone out and listen to a podcast, something motivational or just playing music sometimes, just to switch off and do something different. So that’s what I do and then, of course, I enjoy spending time with my family, I love being with my family and having quality time with them, so that’s very important for me as well.

CIARAN RYAN: In terms of running in Dubai, the temperature is 42 degrees, is that at all possible without collapsing?

PEDRO DE MATOS: Not at this time of the year. If you want to go for a run now, you can go early morning at five in the morning where it’s probably a little bit more comfortable, but it’s still 33 or 34 degrees with high humidity levels, so you’re still pushing in the upper 30s. It’s not a long run in summer, whereas in the cooler months you can probably get in a ten to 15 kilometre run but in this weather, after about five kilometres you are pretty much done.

CIARAN RYAN: Are there any restrictions on you travelling at the moment? So if you wanted to go on holiday or come back to South Africa, is that difficult at the moment?

PEDRO DE MATOS: I think South Africa at the moment is still blocked, it is a bit difficult to get some of the flights. I’ve actually just completed a trip and arrived back this morning. That was tough because I had to go into Europe and trying to get in, knowing all the different requirements of what each jurisdiction wanted. Our corporate head office is actually based out of Luxembourg, and I was trying to get to Luxembourg but around Luxembourg you’ve got France, Germany, Belgium, Holland and each one, whichever way I tried to get in, had their own restrictions. So I ended up having to go via Istanbul to actually get in. My other option was to go via Athens. So that that’s been a bit of a challenge. But I think you’re probably talking to one of the few people who has now had four vaccinations, not just two, I have four, and even that doesn’t seem to help, you still have to present your PCR test and your vaccination card and so on. It is a little bit challenging, and I’d like to get to see my India team because they’ve had a bit of a rough time and it’s a bit difficult to get in there now at the moment.

CIARAN RYAN: Wow, four vaccinations, are these different, like Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson or…?

PEDRO DE MATOS: No, what happened was I wanted to do Pfizer at the time but when I went in, there was that whole shortage of supply globally and a little bit of a dispute between the EU and the UK and so on. So when I went to get my shots when I was called up, they’ve done a super job here in the UAE in terms of their programme, I arrived and I had booked for Pfizer but it wasn’t available, so I did Sinopharm, which is the Chinese one. If you look then Europe and the United States only recognise some of the other ones and if you want to be able to travel there without having issues, you have to do the other one. Also, what they called for here was once you’d done the two Sinopharm vaccinations, you had to do a booster, so you could either do a booster of Sinopharm or you could choose to do a Pfizer. When you go the Pfizer route, you basically redo the two shots, so that’s why I have had both Sinopharm and Pfizer done.

CIARAN RYAN: These are very interesting and challenging times that we’re in. Okay, final question, are there any books that you’d recommend to our CFO community?

PEDRO DE MATOS: There are a couple of books, one is Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation by Daniel T. Jones and James P. Womack. It’s quite good, especially if you’re in the manufacturing side, it’s an older book but it provides some good insights. As I mentioned, I like to do running, so another good book I enjoyed was Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall. Then if you’re looking more on the sales organisation side, there’s The Machine. But then I’m not an avid reader, I prefer to read the Financial Times and Business Times and things like that. But I think it’s also important to read about emotional intelligence, so companies like Atlason publish a lot of good material about work/life balance, they’re quite prominent on LinkedIn. In fact, one of my former work colleagues, who worked with me at Aristocrat, works there and he’s quite prominent across the LinkedIn profile. They’ve got some very good things, especially if you want to know more about people management, there are some very good articles there that they publish on their LinkedIn platform. So I would recommend that.

CIARAN RYAN: Fantastic. Nicolaas, have you got any final comments or thoughts before we close off here?

NICOLAAS VAN WYK: Just, again, the well-roundedness that’s required of a CFO and how you gain that through experience, and then this continuous looking for information and being open to learning. There’s clearly a required humility but it’s very much directed towards business improvement, and I think that’s the takeaway for me.

CIARAN RYAN: Great stuff. Pedro, I want to thank you so much for coming on and just sharing those insights. I can see that you have a passion for what you do, and I think you have a passion for dealing with your team, despite the challenges that you’ve mentioned, the multiple vaccinations, having to deal with teams that are scattered across the world, operating in temperatures, which are pretty frightening, which doesn’t make running very easy. I think the depth of experience that you bring to the position is phenomenal. I want to thank you for coming on, are there any final words that you have to say?

PEDRO DE MATOS: Thank you for the time, it’s been great and I think for everyone out there I would say really look at the CFO as that evolving business partner and also that person where you can knock on their door and have a chat to. It’s not the grey, suited person sitting in the corner, they actually can add a lot of value and some of them can be a lot of fun [laughing]. So get out there and engage with your CFOs and fellow finance and accounting team, you may be surprised.

CIARAN RYAN: Great stuff, Pedro, thank you so much for joining us today, and thanks also to Nicolaas.

Ciaran is a seasoned journalist and podcast host. He has a back-ground in finance and mining, having pre-viously headed up a gold mining operation in Ghana.In this podcast he interviews various CFOs, get-ting more detail on the role of the CFO and their daily challenges and solutions.


CFO Club

Become part of a international community of finance executives.