Meet Marialet Greeff, the new group CFO of EOH Holdings

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Meet Marialet Greeff, the new group CFO of EOH Holdings

Mar 10, 2024 | IFRS, Interviews

Marialet Greeff, the newly appointed finance director of listed group EOH, is celebrating five years with the organisation. She is grateful for being immersed in change management as the technology solutions company continues to re-engineer itself after a rocky period.

‘I arrived here as a tax specialist but because of the changes, I have transitioned to be more of a finance generalist. EOH is a firm believer in growing internal talent and our previous CFO, Megan Pydigadu, gave me opportunities to grow my skills and gain exposure to areas outside of my core competencies. I spent a significant amount of time in group reporting and group treasury and I was very involved with the rights issue we had last year which also served to widen my expertise,’ Marialet says.

Change is never easy but it is often necessary. Marialet has found that having the right people who are committed to see through the transformation is the difference between pain and gain in the corporate metamorphosis process.

Taxation vs IFRS

Prior to joining EOH, Marialet specialised in tax because it was rule based. She enjoyed the fact that if you understood the rules, you could easily get to the right answer unlike IFRS which is very principle based and often requires judgement. Taxation also touched on every aspect of the businesses she was involved in.

Marialet completed her articles in the financial services group at PwC. After qualifying as a CA in 2010, she spent four months in New York on secondment. On returning to South Africa, she knew she did not want to work in financial services and landed in the technology space organically first at Sebata Holdings (previously MICROmega Holdings) then at Cell C. Although she has undoubtedly done better than her peers, she admits she wasn’t always a top student.

‘In primary and high schools, I may have been top academically but at Stellenbosch University, I did just enough to pass. I believe the progression in my career has been fuelled by my ability to learn new things even though I may not end up becoming an expert in each new skill I pursue,’ Marialet says.

‘I have also found that learning happens mostly from interacting with other people which is something I think those coming into the hybrid work environment will miss. There is great benefit in sitting and working together. It is a fact that if meetings are held virtually, people have the temptation to jump on their phones. I am not saying we should come to the office every day, but regular physical engagement has it’s benefits and should not be overlooked,’ she adds.

Back to basics

One of the lessons Marialet holds dear is that of going back to basics when navigating a challenge. Her values have also stood her in good stead. She has seen them influence her decision-making for long term success. Top of the list is integrity; she is always unsettled and triggered whenever a decision borders on dishonesty and does not bolster social good.

‘I also believe in taking ownership for yourself and for your actions. When you make mistakes, you should own up and admit them rather than making excuses. One mistake I have frequently made is that of trying to do everything by myself which easily results in things falling through the cracks. It is a weakness of mine that I am constantly working on by putting my trust in others to share the load.’

When she is not working, Marialet escapes through reading fiction. Of the non-fiction books she has read, Michelle Obama’s Becoming comes to mind as one that resonated with her.

‘She was a leader in her own right who did not hang on the coattails of her husband. What I enjoyed most about the book is her value-driven approach to leadership,’ she concludes.

Marialet’s favourites

Holiday – ‘Going to the bush. I grew up in Joburg so the beach was too far. I became accustomed to game drives so the heat is my happy place when out of town.’

Car – ‘I have no perspective on cars; I will never drive one that costs too much to service hence I will probably only buy a Toyota. If I won the lotto, I would buy a Maserati or Aston Martin, I love the sound of their engines.’

Restaurant – ‘I rarely eat out nowadays so my answer to this one would be Uber Eats!’

App – ‘I spend a lot of time on auction apps looking at what jewellery and art is on sale. My favourite one is Old Johannesburg Warehouse app; I could browse through for hours looking at antiques on sale even if I don’t end up buying any.’

Hobby – ‘Reading – my husband jokes that my loves rank from kindle to the children then him. I also exercise through running a frequent 10kms out on the road or on the treadmill.’

Meal – ‘Lamb chops on the fire. I braai when my husband isn’t around.’

Movie – ‘I have watched Gladiator a million times but I am not really into movies nowadays. When watching TV, it will be some comedy show like Schitt’s Creek, Friends or Modern Family.’

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