Chief Operating Officer (B.Sc Hons Woodscience / B.Comm Accounting & Economics)

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Ref: 1157695
Nationality: South African
Qualifications: Bcom and BSc
Annual Package Range: R 1.35 mil - 1.5 mil, per annum
Total Years Experience: 20 to 30 years
Home and other languages: English, Afrikaans
Gender: Male
Ethnicity: Caucasian / White

Chief Operating Officer (B.Sc Hons Woodscience / B.Comm Accounting & Economics)

Online Interview Questions

Current / most recent job title?
Chief Operating Officer

1. Primary purpose of current/most recent position:
Maximise the sustainable profitability of the available agricultural and forest land by taking into account all known risks, costs, expenses and markets and ensure that the optimal crop is planted, maintained, harvested and processed at the optimal time and cost to meet the short, medium and long term financial requirements of the company.

2. Core elements or functions that must operate effectively in order to achieve primary purpose:

  1. Taking into account all known risks, optimise the site specie matching and long term planning of the available land.
  2. Drawing up, implementing and controlling the annual budgets within the required financial reporting requirements.
  3. Negotiating and managing service provider contracts and costs including establishment, maintenance, harvesting and transport.
  4. Ensure safe work environment and compliance with all relevant legislation and voluntary certification schemes.
  5. Ensure coordination of the management team and participate in the executive management of the company

3. Description of self, along with greater purpose and passions:
Adaptable and experienced Executive with proven track record of optimising a vertically integrated Forestry/Agricultural value chain. I view myself to have a high level of integrity and strive to be part of and to manage diverse management teams that are aligned to a clear purpose. I am currently seeking a new opportunity where I can bring a significant and sustainable benefit to all stakeholders in the Agricultural/Forestry/Timber processing or primary manufacturing sectors

4. Ideal business title: 
General Manager/Chief Operating Officer/Business Unit Manager/Chief Executive Officer depending on the company size and structure

5. Key responsibilities and accountabilities of ideal position:
Overall accountability for a Business Unit including all business disciplines and functions.

6. Skill area of competence:

  • Executive experience and competencies:
    Over twelve years as an executive in various companies I have gained knowledge and experience in the following aspects of executive management:

    • The overall management of various vertically integrated agri processing value chains from the initial establishment of the crop through all aspects of production into various finished timber products
    • I have worked in companies that had gone through a management buyout, that were a privatized state owned enterprise as well as a JSE listed company.
    • These companies had various shareholding structures including BEE partnerships, off shore shareholding, management shareholding as well as JSE listed shareholding.
    • I have gained operational experience in company restructuring, business rescue, the company in which I was employed being sold as well as being part of a company acquiring additional companies.
    • I have dealt with Government departments, in particular DAFF, DPW, DWS and various Municipalities
    • I have gained experience in various types of commercial agreements including State lease’s, Service level agreements, Supply agreements, Insurance claims and disputes, Company acquisitions and sales, State/Municipal tenders.
    • I have gained experience in litigation around Competition Law as well as around disputes over the spread of fire
    • I have served in various capacities in several industry organizations including as a non-executive Director of Sawmilling South Africa, on the Institute of Commercial Forestry Board of Control, on the General committee of Forestry South Africa (as well as an alternate on the Executive) as well as on the Executive and as Chairman of the Umbrella KZN Fire Protection Association.
    • I have worked with a Unionized and non-Unionized workforce in both an urban and rural environment and experienced both centralized and localized bargaining. I have also had the experience of an extended strike that was centered on the non-payment of a discretionary bonus.
    • I have a good working knowledge of current HR/IR related legislation.
    • I have worked in companies that have been SOX compliant, Forestry Stewardship Council certified and NOSA certified
    • I have extensive Health and Safety compliance knowledge, managing this function at an Executive level on two separate occasions. I have been involved in a formal inspection around a fatality in the workplace, Air Emission license applications, Noise compliance/complaints and dust emission complaints.
    • I have worked with the Lean/six sigma tools and theory of constraints.
    • I have experience with community relations in both the urban and rural settings and gained experience around land claims.
    • I have experience in the motivation, specifying, acquisition and installation of capital equipment.

  • Key Technical competencies:

    • I have an extensive knowledge of operational, forestry and sugar cane management in the South African context.
    • I have a good understanding of long haul logistics and have at participated at a company level in the Road Transport Management System (RTMS) for timber in KZN.
    • I have a thorough understanding of the technical aspects of the sawing, peeling, drying, gluing and treating of timber
    • I have a good understanding of modern saw milling and manufacturing machinery that utilizes PLC’s and servo positioning systems.
    • I have a good understanding of timber merchandising.
    • I have a good understanding of timber pulping and pressing.
    • I have a good understanding of all aspects required for manufacturing various types of doors.
    • I have a good understanding of key aspects of sugar cane growing.
    • I am able to effectively utilize spreadsheets, word processors and internet software.

  • Key Management competencies

    • I am able to work and communicate well under pressure.
    • I am a team player, versatile and adaptable.
    • I am able to think laterally and strategically.
    • I can effectively manage and develop subordinates to achieve optimum work performance.
    • I conduct myself with integrity and expect the same from my colleagues and subordinates.
    • I am fully conversant with the current legislative requirements for the safe and correct management of people in a work environment.
    • I have a very good understanding of the financial controls and measures used in a manufacturing environment.

7. Career summary:

  • Forestry FSC certified – softwoods 6 years – Hardwoods 6
  • Sawmilling 6 years
  • Pole production 3 years
  • Door manufacturing 1 year
  • Quality management 4 years
  • Plywood manufacturing – 6 years
  • Sugar cane supply 6 years

8. Achievements: 
Effectively motivated, got board approval and implemented a change in the vertical integration strategy of Masonite between the raw material supply and the factory. This strategy effectively lead to the doubling of the value of the biological assets of the company within five years.

Managed the Stellenbosch sawmill to ensure that it had industry leading recovery, average selling price and gross margin as reported through national inter mill comparisons.

9. What do you absolutely love doing?
Being part of a successful business tforestream

10. Ideal company (culture and values):
Financially successful with aligned and transparent objectives. The company should demonstrate through its actions respect for all of its stakeholders and achieve success by operating through current best business practices. Should value integrity, respect and trust.