2 years ago

Opportunity Issue 97

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Opportunity, endorsed by the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI), is the mouthpiece for business in Southern Africa. The aim of the publication is to inform potential investors both nationally and internationally of the most relevant business news: trade, investment, financial, market-related information for each business sector, as well as to inform of the latest developments in business legislation from both the public and private sector. In this issue, SACCI’s call is for everyone to work towards the common purpose of getting our economy on a sound footing again.


LAUREATE LEADER Called to action 18 |

LAUREATE LEADER JSE Group CEO, Dr Leila Fourie, has been recognised in the inaugural World Federation of Exchanges’ Women Leaders List for 2021 for her outstanding leadership as she steered the Johannesburg Stock Exchange during the Covid-19 pandemic. Opportunity sat down with Dr Fourie and discovered a dynamic leader destined to become a national legend. What were your professional highlights and challenges of the year 2020? Leading through the pandemic. The pandemic created an important opportunity for leaders to step up and make a contribution to the marginalised and those who were affected by the pandemic. I was inspired by the many women leaders for the role they played in navigating and protecting people from the harmful effects of the pandemic on lives and livelihoods of those around us. After prioritising the health and safety of my staff and smoothly transitioning to a work-from-home environment, I took a leading position in South Africa in managing the dynamics of the pandemic in an emerging market country with profound need. It was important to lead by example and to this end, I donated (alongside my Board Directors) 30% of my salary for three months towards the national Solidarity Fund, with proceeds used for those in need during the pandemic. The JSE Board and I encouraged other listed CEOs to join us in our act of solidarity. I also pioneered an industry-wide #trade4solidarity initiative which resulted in more than half of our market donating trading fees for two days to the Solidarity Fund. As the JSE is the frontline listings regulator in South Africa, we ensured we were responsive and innovative in managing the effects of the pandemic. We rapidly introduced a number of important changes to listings requirements to improve the position of listed entities in managing through the unexpected effects of the pandemic. Early in the crisis, we expanded our Green Bond product by launching a new sustainability and social bond structure to enable fund-raising for sustainable needs. During the crisis, I led the JSE team in providing financial support and PPE equipment to vulnerable citizens in townships. We extended financial support to small-cap SME companies and traders in need. I contributed to numerous business leadership initiatives at industry level advising the national government and the President on how to kickstart the South African economy. Contribution on the global stage in sustainable development. I was appointed by the UN Secretary General as Co-Chair to a small group of the top 30 global CEOs of the largest banks and asset managers around the world. It is an honour and privilege to lead this group, especially as a female leader from an emerging market. This group made significant progress in improving the global standard of sustainable development by delivering a unified set of outcomes to globally improve investment into sustainable development. _____________ __ _ _ In my view, a singular passion for the collective goal and a commitment to the people they are privileged to lead have time and time again proven to be the strongest and most successful leadership traits ___ __ ___ __ _ _____ The Sustainable Development Investing (SDI) definition agreed by the Alliance, serving to facilitate a common understanding, promotes investment aligned with sustainable development, and prevents “SDG-washing”. This has been circulated widely to relevant entities including ratings agencies and is being piloted by our own members. The SDI Navigator maps existing initiatives, including sustainability standards and frameworks, which will make it easier for investors and corporates to build on these initiatives to operationalise the SDI definition. The report entitled “Renewed, recharged and reinforced: Urgent | 19

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