Johannesburg, 25 May 2022 – Deloitte Africa CEO Lwazi Bam ends his 28-year tenure with the firm, having served the last 10 years as CEO, when he officially steps down on 31 May 2022.
Bam joined Deloitte in 1994 and became a partner in 2003. His leadership trajectory at Deloitte saw him become the Managing Executive for Corporate Finance and the Executive responsible for the firm’s strategy. He was appointed as CEO in 2012 and was also appointed to the Deloitte Global Executive Committee in 2015.
Bam acknowledges that he has benefited extensively from Deloitte’s history and culture of driving transformation, which traces back to the 1970s.
“The significance of my journey with Deloitte coinciding with the dawn of democracy in South Africa is not lost on me. When I joined the firm in 1994 as a young trainee, I would not have imagined that my journey would culminate in my appointment as Deloitte Africa CEO. I am a democracy baby in so many ways.”
Bam has served the firm as CEO for three terms. He had been due to finish his tenure as CEO at the end of his second term in May 2019; however, the firm requested him to extend his stay for an additional term. Reflecting on his three terms as the CEO, Bam noted that each term had its unique challenges. In particular, the challenges of the last term were on matters that are in the public domain – the scrutiny on the profession and the role of auditors, as well as navigating the challenges that come with managing a business through the global Covid-19 pandemic.
However, he says looking back, he sees both challenges as turning points and an opportunity to reimagine new ways of doing business.
“It is often said that you should never waste a good crisis. Both these events provided significant opportunities for changing how we conduct our business.
They gave us the impetus to leapfrog several stages of development and accelerate our digital transformation journey through the introduction of artificial intelligence as a key part of many of our processes. The investments that we have made in audit quality, in our back office, in growing our advisory business and our positioning in both East and West Africa have positioned us extremely well for the unfolding future,” said Bam.
On Covid-19 Bam adds, “This has been one of the most difficult times in the history of the firm, and I know the same applies to many other businesses and society at large. As a business, we had to quickly figure out how to best support our own people and keep the business afloat while supporting many of our clients in their response to Covid-19. We were also an integral part of supporting many of the governments in the countries where we operate to respond to Covid-19. The fact that we successfully navigated the pandemic is a true testament to the resilience of our people." Still on Covid-19, Bam further added, “We have now shifted our focus to supporting our people as we settle into a hybrid working model. We are fully embracing a hybrid working model as we see many positive spin offs, including allowing our professionals to lead a more balanced life and helping us to achieve our climate goals. Achieving a net zero carbon emission is an important goal for the firm.”
There have been a number of highlights during Bam’s tenure, including the following:
Bam also made a significant contribution to the growth of the broader Charted Accountant profession through the various leadership roles he occupied, including having served as the chair of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA), and president of the Association for the Advancement of Black Accountants in Southern Africa (ABASA).
Bam will be succeeded by Ruwayda Redfearn, the first female and fourth consecutive black CEO for Deloitte Africa on 01 June 2022.
“I am honoured to hand over the reins to Ruwayda, who I believe will lead the firm to even greater heights",Bam said of the pending change in leadership. He also extended his gratitude to the people of Deloitte. “I would like to thank all my colleagues, current and former, locally and globally for the support they afforded me during my tenure,” said Bam.
Commenting on Bam’s departure, Former Board Chair and incoming CEO Ruwayda Redfearn said: “Lwazi has served Deloitte with distinction over the years and helped us navigate some of the most challenging times, both for the auditing profession as well as the country through Covid-19.We are grateful for his leadership and wish him well with his future endeavours.”