DealMakers turned 22 this year. Over the years, we have witnessed, from the sidelines, many changes taking place in the merger and acquisition (M&A) and financial markets space. In 2000, corporate finance and the valuation of companies were still in their infancy, and it was difficult to collate information about companies and sectors. In time, the development of more innovative and complex solution offerings, together with tools combining debt and equity financing emerged. The legal landscape has also undergone change with the most notable developments being the introduction of the new Companies Act and Takeover law, an increase in regulation and the introduction and development of Black Economic Empowerment. With improvements in the dissemination of information enabled by the internet and digital platforms, the investor landscape also changed.

 

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This gave way to the need for specialised teams (both financial and legal) to keep up with the pace at which clients’ businesses evolved, and as companies embraced the 4th Industrial Revolution.

In the early days, pre-2000, there were few women in this industry and they were, in the main, relegated to support roles. While the onset of our democracy has opened up opportunities for South African women to take their rightful place in teams and in corporate South African boardrooms, there is still a long way to go. The numbers in the PwC report on Executive directors: Practices and remuneration trends, released in January, revealed that 95% of all Chief Executive Officers on the JSE were male, 87.2% of the chief financial officers were male and 91% of executive directors were male. A total of just 19 women held executive positions in listed companies on the JSE and only 6% of the 329 CEOs are female.

 

The lack of opportunity for women, and more specifically for women of colour, due to racial and gender prejudices, has created a pool of women, not just in this industry but in South Africa as a whole, who have persevered and have honed the skill not only to be the best at what they have set out to do, but also the resolve to make it happen.
 

Each woman featured has a unique and inspiring story to tell – but there is a common thread – work hard, believe in yourself and accept support and advice offered. It is the hope that this feature will offer inspiration to young women, give them courage where needed and the realisation that they are not alone, that there are others who have walked a similar path.


The feature, the first of its type to be carried by DealMakers, has been extremely well supported and I would like to thank all those who believed in the idea and participated. Special thanks goes to my colleague, Vanessa Aitken whose idea it was and who, in her quest to make sure it would be the best it could be, spent many long nights making it happen.

Marylou Greig, Editor

(Click on any company below to view)

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