Former Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) head Dr Pierre Voges has been appointed to head a research project that will chart the direction and future operational strategy of the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber.
This was announced by outgoing chamber president Ian Nicholls at its annual meeting on Wednesday.
He said the outcome of the research project would also guide the recruitment process for a new, permanent chamber chief executive.
Long-serving chief executive Kevin Hustler, who announced his resignation last month, has been replaced by operations manager Prince Matonsi, who will act in the position until a permanent chief executive has been recruited.
The chamber is one of the largest business associations in the Eastern Cape, with a membership of about 700 businesses.
They include some of the country’s largest multinational companies, such as Volkswagen Group SA, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa and Aspen Pharmacare.
The meeting also saw the nomination of new board members as a result of the recent resignation of a number of board members, including Voges.
Nicholls said: “As a prelude to the formal recruitment process, Dr Pierre Voges has been appointed to develop a proposed strategy for the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber, which will ensure that [it] is well positioned to serve the changing needs of business in the metro.
“Once a comprehensive strategy has been developed and carries board approval, a recruitment process to identify a suitable chief executive will be initiated.”
Nicholls said Voges’s tasks would include researching and reviewing similar chambers around the country and appropriate political and non-governmental organisations and speaking to leaders and politicians towards developing the strategy. Nicholls, whose twoyear presidency will come to an end when a new president is elected at the next board meeting this month, said the chamber’s change of direction was as a consequence of the changes in the business environment.
He encouraged member companies to embrace the changes they experienced in the economy as opportunities, rather than as challenges, and to be open to new ideas.
“As we move forward, you can expect the chamber to adopt more of a disrupter approach – in other words being a business chamber which questions the status quo and is always seeking the most impactful way to deliver high-impact results,” he said.
In brief comments about his mandate from the chamber, Voges said yesterday he had been contracted to develop his proposals within three months.
“Essentially, the idea is to develop a homegrown strategy that . . . should best serve the chamber in its own operational environment,” he said.
“Towards this, a wide-ranging research and review process is being undertaken which will, among other methodology, include engaging appropriate business and other leaders and appropriate organisations.”