Wesgro announces new CEO

Wesgro announces new CEO

Professor Brian Figaji, Chairman of the Wesgro Board of Directors (the Western Cape’s tourism, trade and investment promotion agency) announced yesterday that the Agency had appointed Tim Harris as the new Chief Executive Officer of the Agency to replace the outgoing Chief Executive Officer, Nils Flaatten whose contract expires in April 2015.

Professor Figaji said, “The current CEO indicated that on completion of his contract he wanted to return to the private sector. As part of our succession planning the Board of Directors embarked on a recruitment process. We received 119 applications for the post from which we compiled a short list of eight candidates. One of the candidates withdrew from the process which was conducted by a Board Sub-committee. The Sub-committee then compiled a short list of three candidates from which Tim Harris emerged as the candidate for CEO. This Sub-committee consisted of the Chairperson, Vice Chairperson and two members of the Human Resources and Remuneration Committee and the outgoing CEO. The full board of directors ratified the nomination at our Board meeting today.”

Harris, who currently serves as Investment Officer at the City of Cape Town, will commence his 3-year term as Wesgro Chief Executive Officer once negotiation around timings with the City of Cape Town has been completed. This will allow for a smooth transition for Wesgro.

Harris, said that he was looking forward to the new role, "I am honoured to accept the challenge of leading Wesgro. With a mandate to promote Trade, Investment and Tourism in the Western Cape, Wesgro has a unique opportunity to help drive provincial economic growth rates higher.

The team at Wesgro and I will work with our shareholders in government, and with individual companies to ensure that the Western Cape province and the Cape Town city region remain the most business-friendly destinations in South Africa.

By assisting our companies to export more, attracting investment to our region, and promoting our considerable tourism assets, we can help achieve our potential as a world-class business and leisure hub on the southern tip of Africa," he says. 

Professor Figaji said the Board of Directors is working on the new 5-year strategy for the Agency that is in line with the Western Cape Government’s planning cycle. The timing of the appointment of the Chief Executive Officer-elect coincides with this process and Professor Figaji said that it would be Mr Harris’ responsibility to drive this new vision through the Agency. This new strategy will be delivered to MEC Alan Winde early in the new year.

The new Board of Directors are aware of the pressures on the public fiscus and will be seeking greater performance results through partnership and collaboration.

Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde, welcomed the announcement. “Tim is a fantastic choice to lead the agency. He has an deep understanding of both the challenges and opportunities inherent in our economy and what it will take to achieve greater growth and job creation. As the new CEO, he will be in charge of growing the Western Cape’s footprint on the global map, and I would like to wish him every success in this exciting endeavour.”
“I would also like to thank all the many members of the business community who applied for the position. The vast number of applications received, and moreover their quality, speak to the strength of Wesgro as an agency, and the excitement around the growing business brand of our region.”
Minister Winde thanked the previous CEO of Wesgro, Ms Flaatten, for his hard work over the years.
“Nils Flaatten has been at the helm of Wesgro since June 2010.  During his four and a half year tenure, he served the province with vigour and great passion. A key result under Nils’ leadership was the successful merger of CTRU into Wesgro, positioning the agency as the Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape. Nils was also instrumental in realising the successful completion of the Saldanha Bay IDZ (SBIDZ)  pre-feasibility study, feasibility study, business model composition and operating permit.”
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