Morné du Plessis

7th October 2011 By: Christy van der Merwe

Full Name: Morné du Plessis

Position: CEO of Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) South Africa

Main Activity of the Company: Inspiring people to live in harmony with nature

Date and Place of Birth: 1960, East London

Education: Matric, at Queens College; BSc (agriculture), University of Stellenbosch; BSc (Hons) University of Pretoria; PhD, University of Cape Town (UCT); MBA, UCT

First Job: Research scientist

Career History Prior to Current Position: I was a professor and director of the Percy FitzPatrick Institute at UCT

Size of First Pay Packet: At age 32, my student loan was still significantly larger than my annual salary

First Job with Present Group: CEO

Value of Assets under Your Control: Significant intellectual capital among WWF staff

Number of People under Your Leadership: 85

Management Style: Consultative

Personal Best Achievement: My two lovely daughters

Professional Best Achievement: Establishment of the Percy FitzPatrick Institute as one of the first six national centres of excellence across social, health and natural sciences and engineering

Person Who Has Had the Biggest Influence on Your Life: My late father, AS du Plessis

Person Who Has Had the Biggest Influence on Your Career: Roy Siegfried, professor emeritus at UCT

Person You Would Most Like to Meet: Charles Darwin

Businessperson Who Has Impressed You Most: Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever

Philosophy of Life: Never (ever) give up, make others feel good about themselves, and look people in the eye

Biggest Ever Opportunity: Spending two days with Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Biggest Ever Disappointment: Thankfully, I have been spared these

Hope for the Future: A societal awakening to living within our environmental means

Favourite Reading: Ernest Hemingway

Favourite TV Programme: I do not watch much TV

Favourite Food/Drink: Fish which tastes so much better if it is on the Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative green list/red wine from one of the Biodiversity in Wine Initiative Champions

Favourite Music: Chopin and Liszt piano pieces

Favourite Sport: I love them all equally, but, given my name . . .

Favourite Website:

Hobbies: Growing orchids, bird watching

Car: Prius

Pets: Jack Russell and two cats

Miscellaneous Dislikes: Arrogance

Favourite Other South African Company: Exclusive Books

Favourite Foreign Company: Google

Married: Lyndi du Plessis, formerly from Zimbabwe

Children: Lara, 17; Nicola, 13

Clubs: Too young for old clubs and too old for young clubs