Consultancy & Construction, Sub-Saharan Africa
Stuart started working with Mace's facilities management business, Macro, before making the move to join Mace's central finance team. After four and half years in the UK, Stuart decided to head home to South Africa and is now part of our Sub-Saharan Africa management team.
- How has your career developed at Mace?
- I initially joined Macro as a temporary contractor shortly after moving to London in 2008. As the global recession took hold, I was fortunate enough to be offered a permanent role as finance manager reporting directly to Macro's finance director. I remained in this role for two and a half years, before being offered a position in Mace’s central finance team as a senior finance manager. I worked in the central team for two years before being offered an opportunity to move back to my home country, South Africa, as the regional finance lead for Mace’s Sub-Saharan Africa hub.
- How did you get into what you do?
- After completing my university studies in South Africa in 2003, I completed an internship at a local audit practice. Subsequently, I worked in the management consulting industry for five years and completed my professional accounting certification with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), and was recognised as a top student in South Africa. My qualification and time at Mace has allowed me to explore various pathways that have ultimately led me to the position that I am in right now.
- What do you enjoy most about your role at Mace?
- Being privately owned, Mace encourages an entrepreneurial way of thinking and behaving. It shortens the decision making process and allows us to react to opportunities faster than other larger multinationals. It's this fast-paced, dynamic environment that I enjoy the most. That said, I also truly believe that the biggest asset to Mace is its people, and over the last two years or so I have had the pleasure of working for some great people, and had truly brilliant people working for me - that to me is what I would say is equally as enjoyable.
“I truly believe that the biggest asset to Mace is its people, and I have had the pleasure of working for some great people, and had truly brilliant people working for me. ”
- What has been your proudest achievement at Mace?
In early 2016, Mace in South Africa successfully closed a joint venture deal with a local black-owned cost consultancy firm called MMQS. The deal will enable Mace to enter into new markets and sectors, in particular public sector infrastructure in South Africa, that we were previously not able to target due to Broad Base Black Economic Empowerment legislation. I played a key role in the negotiation, structuring an agreement of the joint venture which took place over two years. To see the benefit of that effort paying off now is what I am most proud of so far at Mace.
- What advice would you give to someone looking to get into what you do?
- You need to be clear in your mind whether you want your career to develop as a subject matter specialist or a business leader. If it’s the latter as I have chosen, try to get as much experience from as many different areas in the business as possible as you progress through your career. It will help you to continually develop your wider business skills, enabling you to have a big picture perspective, which will assist you when problem solving and dealing with tough issues.
- What are you passionate about outside of work?
- Time off in South Africa is about the outdoors and is very much what I am passionate about. From spending time braaing [South African BBQ] with friends and family, to running and mountain biking, to travelling to game farms or beaches, there is so much to offer.