Fortress announces key succession plan to drive business forward and ensure continuity

Posted On Wednesday, 05 December 2018 08:25 Published by
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Fortress REIT Ltd., the diversified property group, today advised shareholders that its board of directors has identified suitable candidates to continue driving the business forward and ensuring continuity.


This follows an indication by current CEO, Mark Stevens, of his intention to retire within the next 12 months and forms part of a broader strategy to have a vibrant succession plan in place in accordance with good corporate governance principles.

Steven Brown, the interim financial director, has been designated as the next chief executive officer and managing director of Fortress.

“I have been working very closely with Steven in recent years and in order to ensure a seamless transition over the coming months, will continue to do so,” says Stevens.

With effect from 3 December 2018, Brown will become the chief executive officer (designate) and will no longer serve as interim financial director

Mark Stevens has had a highly distinguished career of many decades in the South African property sector, which included 10 years with Old Mutual Properties, as managing director of Fortress since its listing in 2009 and as chairman of the SA REIT Marketing Committee.

Brown, meanwhile, joined Coronation Capital after qualifying as a chartered accountant and chartered financial analyst, after which he joined Standard Bank’s global markets division in the equity derivatives finance team and subsequently the Real Estate Finance division. Steven joined Fortress from Capital Property Fund after the acquisition by Fortress in December 2015 and has in-depth knowledge of Fortress’ business units.

In further key appointments, Ian Vorster has been appointed as chief financial officer and financial director of Fortress with effect from 3 December 2018. Vorster is a chartered accountant and joined Fortress in October 2018 from Grant Thornton, where he served as Head of Corporate Finance since 2015.  He spent 10 years at PKF and a further four years at Grant Thornton after the merger of Grant Thornton and PKF and has a wealth of experience in corporate finance transactions, as well as a deep understanding of the JSE Listings Requirements and IFRS. 

Donnovan Pydigadu has been appointed as chief operating officer and executive director, a new position on the Fortress board. Pydigadu joined Fortress in April 2017 and has headed Fortress’ investor relations since early in 2018.  He qualified as a chartered accountant and spent several years in investment banking at Nedbank Corporate Property Finance and before joining Fortress, was the co-founder of the Sanlam Real Estate Finance business unit within Sanlam Capital Markets. 

In further news, Fareed Wania will continue to manage Fortress’ office portfolio, but has resigned as an executive director of Fortress with effect from 3 December 2018.

“The board extends its gratitude to Fareed for his valuable contribution as an executive director and looks forward to his continued input and experience in the asset management of Fortress’ office portfolio,” says Stevens.

On the board front, Vuso Majija will remain an executive director of Fortress, head of Fortress’ retail division and will continue to serve as Fortress’ appointed representative to the NEPI Rockcastle plc board of directors. 

Fortress also announced a number of key non-executive director appointments with effect from 3 December 2018.  Among these is Vuyiswa Mutshekwane, the chief executive officer of the South African Institute of Black Property Professionals (“SAIBPP”), a position she has held since September 2015. Mutshekwane  holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics and a diploma in Property Development and Investment from the University of Cape Town.  She has built a successful career in retail, marketing, strategic advisory and the commercial property sector. 

In another appointment, Sue Ludolph, an experienced executive and chartered accountant with a long history in financial reporting, joins as a non-executive director. She is currently an independent member of the audit and risk committees of Discovery Health Medical Scheme and an ex-partner of at Deloitte. Ludolph was also project director for financial reporting at the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA), where she spent 13 years. She has been a judge for the PwC “Building Public Trust Awards” since 2014.

“These appointments give us plenty of strategic depth, insights and skill to tackle the exciting road ahead for our business. We are in very good hands to maximise the opportunities as they arise, notably in logistics,” says Stevens.

Last modified on Wednesday, 05 December 2018 09:23

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