SA’s top CEOs to offer on-the-job training to select few

Odgers Berndtson launches CEO For A Day in South Africa

Cape Town, Wednesday, 10 September 2014: The JSE’s Nicky Newton-King and Pick n Pay’s Richard Brasher are two of seven CEOs participating in the CEO For A Day programme run by global executive search firm Odgers Berndtson Sub-Saharan Africa. Launched in South Africa today, the programme matches MBA students from the country’s top business schools with leading CEOs.

“What CEO For A Day aims to do is help our executives gain insights into the next generation of leadership and how to leverage those skills.  At the same time we are helping the students gain access to a practical display of leadership, which will give them an idea of what it takes to get to an executive level,” says Leon Ayo, managing director of Odgers Berndtson Sub-Saharan Africa.

The team of executive search experts at Odgers Berndtson will conduct a rigorous four-phase selection process to shortlist students. Each finalist will have an opportunity to shadow a CEO for a full day while learning more about the CEO and his or her executive approach within the organisation.

Participating CEOs include:

“We approached CEOs running a recognised organisation of scale and complexity. What students will see is that while everyone at executive level has the commercial, numerical and verbal skills to get the job done, there are certain distinguishing features unique to successful CEOs. In our experience with placing top talent for a range of clients across many industries, it is the ‘x-factor’, self-awareness in leadership that differentiates those that can and those that have actually gone on to succeed,” says Ayo.

Professor Walter Baets, director of the Graduate School of Business, agrees. “Programmes like CEO For A Day provide an opportunity for students not just to learn about the role of a leader but to see how it really works. It exposes them to the practical side of leadership. You can teach a lot of concepts around leadership, but at the end of the day, they will have to become leaders themselves. This initiative exposes future leaders to actual role models.”