Charl de Villiers Chief Financial Officer, Stellar Capital Partners Limited, 31
In a perfect world, Charl de Villiers would have qualified both as a chartered accountant and an attorney. However, realistically speaking, he realised he would have to choose just one specialisation. There’s no doubt that Charl is a hard worker, and his efforts paid off when he earned both his Bachelors of Accounting and Law degree cum laude at Stellenbosch University – one of only two students to achieve this.
At the time, however, he believed the CA(SA) route was the one to follow, due to the fact that it is internationally recognised, as well as its broader business application. “I’ve never looked back – I know I made the right decision and doubt I would have experienced the rapid career growth I have enjoyed had I made a different decision,” he says.
His working life started at Deloitte, where he was one of the firm’s top performing trainees, later staying on as an audit manager, managing a portfolio of financial services clients in the asset management and insurance industries.
In May 2013, Charl’s career took a new turn and he joined a boutique corporate finance house, AfrAsia Corporate Finance (ACF). He thrived in this environment, quickly being promoted from Associate to Principal.
In 2015, when he was just 30 years old, Charl was approached by the shareholders of ConvergeNet to consider the position of CFO of the company. ConvergeNet was a client of ACF and a JSE listed ICT Group and was in the process of converting to an investment holding company at the time. Charl, together with the team at ACH, had been managing the disposal of most of the remaining operating businesses within the ConvergeNet Group as part of the company’s turnaround strategy to become Stellar Capital Partners (Stellar Capital).
During the year long period of Stellar Capital’s conversion between 2015 and 2016, the company issued seven JSE circulars, a number which is reported to be the most of any JSE listed company during the same period. Each circular posed its own unique set of challenges.
As CFO, Charl laid the foundation for Stellar Capital as a newly established, listed investment holding company, initially to preserve and then subsequently to enhance value for shareholders.
Charl is also involved in corporate social investment (CSI); explaining that as part of the investment strategy and criteria for Stellar Capital, he was mandated to direct and influence the CSI and transformation initiatives of investee companies to ensure sustainable returns and stakeholder engagement.
In his spare time, Charl plays golf on the weekend. He also has a fascinating and unusual hobby – he collects vintage wrist watches, a passion which started with the restoration of a vintage Waltham pocket watch.
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