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Meet our new Group Chief Financial Officer Arshad Hassim

Meet our new Group Chief Financial Officer Arshad Hassim

Aurum welcomes Mr Arshad Hassim who recently joined us as the Group Chief Financial Officer and an executive director and board member. A a registered Chartered Accountant, he  brings over 20 years experience in financial leadership at various prominent corporate organisations. He answered a few questions so we can get to know him. 

1: What inspired you to choose a career in finance?

I am born and bred in the small town of Potchefstroom (120km’s west of Johannesburg).  My own story is fueled by the ambition to escape to a better life.  

From a young age, I displayed a special flair for accounting and mathematics and saw this as an exit strategy – it wasn’t the money that drove me at that stage – I just wanted to change my life.

2: What attracted you to Aurum?

When I reviewed the job specification for the Group CFO position at The Aurum Institute, a lot of what I had done in the past was compatible with the Group CFO role at Aurum.  I have been a CFO for over 15 years in corporate entities and I obtained significant exposure to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) implementations, legal entity restructures, championing compliance, operating in Africa etc, and the Group CFO role at Aurum allows me an opportunity to leverage off my strong experience and add value. 

Aurum provides an opportunity for me to make an impact that matters and a greater purpose.  Purpose is the fuel of a great career and my passion for making a difference in people’s lives and in the world. This is apt of the reason I joined Aurum. 

3: What are your impressions of Aurum so far in terms of your portfolio, the work environment, people etc?

Aurum is a highly professional organisation and is staffed with some of the smartest and most committed people I have encountered in my career.  I am not used to working with this many Scientist, Doctors and Professors. 

There is plenty of acronyms and jargon that I am getting used to.  I am hearing a lot of terms that I have no idea what they mean and fortunately there are always experts that you can tap into to help you when you are unsure of anything. 

4: Is working in the health industry any difference to your previous portfolio?

My previous role was Chief Financial Officer for the largest revenue division at Alexander Forbes which was the Corporate and Employee Benefits Division. 

Therefore, my background is in financial services (banking, insurance and employment benefits) and automotive (passenger cars and commercial vehicles).  I have obtained exposure at both the retail and corporate levels.

Although a lot of the responsibilities for a CFO are generic irrespective of the industry viz Financial Management, Treasury, Management Accounting, Taxation etc. there are a number of nuances that is unique to the NGO and health industry. The approach I am adopting in order to learn as fast as possible is to listen a lot, find out what’s happening and to ask lots of questions.   

5: Aurum is known globally for its impact on public health, what contribution do you want to make in this health organisation?

I would like to support Aurum in its aspiration to remain a relevant organisation 100 years from now.  I believe that the key to being a good CFO is maintaining discipline, having a strong handle on the financial workings, coupled with a holistic understanding of the strategy.  Throughout my career, my focus has not been limited to the controls, it has also been focused on the insight and analysis elements which aids our business partners with prediction and decision-making support.

I am especially proud that in all my previous roles, I have been able to instill a culture of always wanting to do things better and establishing a continuous improvement mindset.  As a CFO, you have to instantaneously want to find out where impact/value is created and assist the organisation in this regard.  As South Africans, we are part of Africa, and as fellow Africans we have to be committed to contribute to the upliftment of the continent.  I would also like to support Aurum in its African strategy. 

6: On a personal note: Please tell us a bit about your family life and what you enjoy doing when you are not at work.

I am married to a pharmacist and have 2 kids – a son aged 9 and a daughter aged 4.  Pre-COVID-19, time spent with my family involved travelling.  I firmly believe that travel is an education of its own.  We are fortunate in South Africa to have such a beautiful country to explore.

Saturdays are usually dedicated to my sons Northern Province cricket league matches.  He has motivated our family to become cricket fanatics. 

I also read extensively, enjoy all sports and have recently started playing golf.

Click here to read his professional bio.