Karl Westvig

30th November 2018


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Full Name: Karl Westvig

Position: Founder of Retail Capital in 2011 and CEO since September 2015

Main Activity of the Company: Funding small and medium-sized enterprises, particularly those operating in the retail sector

Date and Place of Birth: January 25, 1971, Malmesbury, Western Cape

Education: Bachelor of Business Science (Hons) (statistics and operations research), University of Cape Town; financial technology (fintech) certificate, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

First Job: Strategy manager: credit risk at Foschini Group

Career History Prior to Current Position: I was part of the founding team at Direct Axis from 1997 to 1999, when I founded RCS Group, which I helped build into one of the biggest consumer finance businesses in South Africa, with debtors in excess of R2.5-billion and more than 750 employees. I established Como Capital in 2009 and invested in many startups, including Retail Capital

Size of First Pay Packet: R2 500 a month, in 1992

First Job with Present Group: Chairperson – from January 2011 to September 2015

Value of Assets under Your Control: R300-million

Number of People under Your Leadership: 120

Management Style: Participative and empowering

Personal Best Achievement: Completing my first multistage trail run

Professional Best Achievement: Founding RCS and now Retail Capital

Person Who Has Had the Biggest Influence on Your Life: My wife, Gabrielle

Person Who Has Had the Biggest Influence on Your Career: It is difficult to say, but Colin Hall has certainly helped to keep perspective on leadership

Person You Would Most Like to Meet: Bono – I am a big U2 fan

Businessperson Who Has Impressed You Most: Sanlam Group CEO Ian Kirk

Philosophy of Life: Relationships ultimately are all that count – one should build them and not break them down

Biggest Ever Opportunity: Building RCS with Foschini Group

Biggest Ever Disappointment: Building a mobile contract business around the time of the African Bank collapse, which meant funding dried up and we were not able to build a profitable business

Hope for the Future: That, as South Africans, we build unity and a positive and constructive outlook so that we can achieve our potential

Favourite Reading: Malcolm Gladwell and Michael Lewis, who provide incredible insightful into business and human behaviour

Favourite TV Programme: Lately, I have become a big fan of the cooking channels, being an amateur chef

Favourite Food: Nothing beats a great lasagne, but Indian must be close behind; living in the wine-producing region of South Africa, we are spoilt for choice, with great white and red wines

Favourite Music: I love most music, but would probably default to pop

Favourite Sport: Having played squash, rugby and many other sports, my favourite now is trail running and I really enjoy the multistage events

Favourite Website: Business Day

Favourite Other South African Company: I love the explosion of the fintech sector, where new businesses are challenging the old business models of the banks by providing customercentric experiences with quick turnarounds and no hassles

Favourite Foreign Company: Elon Musk's Space-X and Tesla, and Amazon

Hobbies: Trail running, travel and wine appreciation

Car: BMW X6

Pets: I love cats

Miscellaneous Dislikes: People who act like victims

Married: To Gabrielle, since 1995

Children: Meghan, 21; Kyle, 18

Clubs: Wynberg Old Boys Union (president since April 2017), JAG Foundation (chairperson since June 2016), Aspen Global Leadership Network (since May 2014), African Leadership Initiative (since May 2014)

Edited by Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor



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