My Clients are more than that. Being a Portfolio FD is about being a trusted Partner in their business and I am grateful and privileged to be part of their journey through the ups and downs.
MD of QBS (QualiBasic Seed Company), previously he was Managing Director of Syngenta East and Southern Africa and sits on the board of CKL Africa, the Advisory Panel for the Biosciences Eastern and Central Africa and sits on the Board of STAK, the Seed Trade Association of Kenya
QualiBasic Seed Company is a start-up foundation seed business, operating in East and Southern Africa across 12 countries from three physical operations (Kenya, Zambia and South Africa). We were struggling with effectively managing across three financial jurisdictions, as well as preparing to introduce a new ERP system. We were also looking to develop the capacity of our financial controller to be able to provide a more strategic view of the company finances as well as holding her own in discussion at board and audit committee level.
We engaged Chris because of both the deep financial experience as well as a well-tuned knowledge of the African agricultural environment in which we operate. Chris provided operational support to our finance team, reviewing both our chart of accounts and our costing models as well as mentoring to our financial controller over several months, to great effect. The board and audit chair have commented on her increased confidence level, the provision of strategic financial advice has developed well, the new ERP system is up and running and changes in operational finance personnel in Zambia have progressed seamlessly as one person resigned and another was appointed.
If you need expert financial advice and/or personnel coaching and mentoring for your finance staff, I can thoroughly recommend Chris
Managing Director and Shareholder at Hyperama
Chris came into Hyperama as we were preparing to Exit the Cash & Carry Division and to help prepare the business for sale. He quickly identified key issues to improve the Balance Sheet and P&L and we implemented a plan with a focus on cutting overhead costs and improving our working capital cycle. This together with his clear and positive communication style to both external parties and myself and the Executive team helped bring around a successful sale in a relatively short space of time.
I would not hesitate to recommend Chris to other businesses requiring positive change or an Exit.
Founder and CEO of Africa Practice
Over an extended period, Chris conducted a review of our company’s finance systems and processes, and provided us with recommendations on ways to improve workflows, strengthen internal controls and financial management reporting. He was able to engage staff across all of our geographical regions to identify challenges we faced in operationaling our systems, and ways to overcome these. His positive attitude and affinity for our business has helped us on our journey to grow a high performance organisation.
Basil is a highly-respected figure in the South East Africa Region and serves on several boards
Scaw was a Private Equity investment going through its Exit Strategy when Chris was called in by the Executive team and Board who were struggling to obtain an accurate report on the financial position of the company that would help drive strategy. In addition we needed to develop the capacity of our finance team and to ensure our compliance and internal controls were in place for the exit due diligence purposes.
Chris’s knowledge and experience allowed us to complete the long outstanding ERP implementation together with the enhancement of the control environment and the development of the finance team. These improvements led to a far better understanding of the finances and improvements in forecasting, cash flow and working capital management led to a successful strategic review and Exit.
I unreservedly recommend Chris as a Finance Director to any Board
Executive Director of Anglo American (my Corporate Testimonial before life as a Portfolio FD!)
Chris has been known personally to me for three years and he worked for me personally for two years. His wide range of experience in finance together with operational company experience, up to senior management levels, was invaluable. Professionalism and a high degree of integrity are important qualities with Chris.
I would not hesitate to recommend him.
Operations Director UK, Europe & Nordics for The Angel Foundation (Charity)
Chris has been an invaluable part of our team first as an employee and then as a consultant. He has always delivered and is a pleasure to work with. If you value efficiency, kindness and delivery Chris would be a good CFO partner.
Chris stands out for us as having given of his time and expertise freely to help set us on the right path. Our project and business is still a work in progress but with his easy and approachable style coupled with his extensive financial experience we know he has given us the best possible chance of success.
John Paul Whyatt
John Paul has been with former banking giant Dresdner Kleinwort Benson, Bear Stearns as MD for telecoms and media before co-founding a Tanzanian agribusiness for biofuel which grew into East Africa’s largest rice producer.. He is now CFO at Aurora Energy
Chris was appointed Finance Director at the end of 2013 and I worked with him for a little over a year. Chris’s principal mandate was to strengthen and professionalise a weak finance function in what had become a large and complex enterprise, and he did this very effectively. While dealing with all of our reporting requirements, he built and developed the finance team and, above all, improved the timeliness and accuracy of our internal reporting and control systems. Chris is technically strong but I would say that his greatest contribution came from his ability to operationalise effective systems: he has the experience to understand what is required and got on with implementation with a minimum of fuss. Chris was easy to work with and clearly worked well with his team. He also did very well when asked to present results to the Agrica Board. Chris is capable, good to work with, and of unquestionable personal integrity, and I have no hesitation in recommending him to you.