WINDHOEK – Nedbank Namibia have confirmed the appointment of JG van Graan to the position of Chief Financial Officer (CFO). The role of the modern-day CFO is evolving, extending outside of the world of finance as the pace of fintech gets faster and more complex.
In banking, the position calls for knowledgeable leaders who can lay the foundation of trust for an organisation to grow in an ever-changing environment and Van Graan fits the mould perfectly, says the bank. His innate traits, values and beliefs ensures he remains at the top of his game while inspiring those around him to push outside their comfort zones and deliver more than they could ever have imagined, it adds.
Van Graan will play a pertinent role in ensuring the bank maintains its solid reporting foundation, lead planning and resource allocation processes, seek innovative methods for measuring progress and provide insights to support key decision-making.
As the sector is exposed to rapidly evolving consumer preferences, new advice and product delivery models as well as the rise of digitalisation, Van Graan believes Nedbank has the right leadership in place, coupled with a strong strategic focus during these volatile and uncertain times. For Van Graan, the main target is to influence the top and bottom line – and play a role in driving significant growth.
“The banking industry is under reform, and considering the leadership, strategy and size of the bank, Nedbank Namibia is more agile to make the necessary step change the market requires. That’s what makes it so attractive to work for Nedbank. All I see is opportunity – so much potential for impact,” he says.
As a respected financial leader, Van Graan has an extensive background in management advisory which includes working in auditing, the mining sector and as a chartered accountant (CA). He brings unprecedented passion to the CFO position and has the foresight to align Nedbank’s strategic decisions with where the market is going. “Financial information and data is the way of the future. It is becoming crucial to provide businesses with financial information through management information systems (MIS) for businesses to be closer to their clients,” Van Graan notes.
Van Graan attended Windhoek High School and completed his tertiary academic chapter as CA at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. After completing his first year of articles and with the support of his employer he took on the challenge of lecturing for one year, an experience he greatly treasures to this day.
Before joining Nedbank, Van Graan served as financial manager at Rössing and built a successful advisory practice for one of the leading auditing firms, focusing on internal audit, risk, compliance, process reengineering, robotics, IT, SAP and HR management.
Fitting the bill of today’s modern CFO, which requires the ability to develop talent, build agile teams and shape high performing cultures, Van Graan says that his big focus is people. “Being driven and achieving results only reflects one side of the coin. The other is elevating and playing a role in people’s career development. I consider this to be the true measure of success,” he emphasises.
For those who have earmarked their path to CFO/CA, Van Graan advises that although it is not an easy journey to CA, it is an international accreditation and differentiates you from being professionally qualified versus only academically. “Being a CA – number and technical competency is a given, it’s certainly not a distinguishing commodity and will not determine your success,” he firmly advises. “It provides a good base and an opportunity, but success in your career is all about managing people in complex relationships.” He states that teamwork starts with trust, “and the only way you achieve it is by spending time together and building relationships”.
Operational efficiency is something Van Graan places a great focus on and believes that a strong work life balance brings out the best in all of us, increases happiness and reduces stress levels. His unique leadership style positions him to be the steward of assets, an operator of an efficient system, a strategist lending direction and a catalyst enhancing financial performance for Nedbank Namibia.
Van Graan is a family man, sharing that his wife and three children are his greatest blessings in life. He is also passionate about cycling and running, having accomplished the Two Oceans Marathon consistently over the years. 2018 will be his seventh year of the Nedbank Desert Dash, and he is looking forward to participating for the first time as a Nedbanker.