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The Albert Luthuli Centre for Responsible Leadership

Visiting executives share wisdom at UP

By Prof Derick de Jongh

Posted on 03 November 2009

Left to Right: Prof Derick de Jongh, Prof Ramaranka Mogotlane, Mnr Brand Pretorius, Prof Carolina Koornhof, Prof Gideon Nieman
Left to Right: Prof Derick de Jongh, Prof Ramaranka Mogotlane, Mnr Brand Pretorius, Prof Carolina Koornhof, Prof Gideon Nieman

As part of the University of Pretoria and the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences’ drive to create closer ties with commerce and industry, a new position of appointment for senior business people Visiting Executives has been approved in order to create awareness amongst staff members and students.

The aim of the Visiting Executive initiative is to inform staff and students of the Faculty on how attributes such as integrity, ethical fitness, discipline and corporate statesmanship are essential in building a successful career and becoming responsible leaders. The first Visiting Executive to the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences was Brand Pretorius, CEO of McCarthy Motor Holdings. The conversation took place on Friday, 30 October 2009.

Brand Pretorius joined South Africa’s largest motor retailing group, McCarthy Motor Holdings in 1995 as chief executive and in 1999 he was promoted to the position of Chief Executive Officer of McCarthy Limited, the holding company of McCarthy Motor Holdings that boasts extensive interests in motor retailing, auctioneering, car rental, vehicle insurance and financing.

Against the backdrop of the global economic crisis, McCarthy has been forced to retrench approximately 1,000 staff members and also close a number of branches. Mr Pretorius admits that 2009 has been one of the most difficult years for him as a leader. “During difficult times leaders have to provide direction and lead by example. In doing so leaders have the option to follow one of two styles, namely the autocratic approach that results in reluctant compliance or the transformational approach that results in a “buy in” by the staff members of the company. The transformational approach is the preferred option” says Brand Pretorius.

His personal leadership philosophy is that of the “servant leader" who is soft-hearted when it comes to people but hard-headed when it comes to results.

“In difficult times, his faith in God and perseverance keeps him going as a leader”, says Brand Pretorius. His biggest motivation is that he wants to leave a legacy and make a positive difference to those around him.



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