Former Absa chief appointed at Sappi

Former Absa CEO and chairperson Dr Danie Cronje has been appointed as the independent non-executive chairperson of Sappi, the global pulp and paper group announced on Wednesday.

He succeeds Eugene van As, whose impending retirement as chairperson and from the board — at the annual general meeting on March 3 this year — was announced earlier.

Cronje (61) was chairperson of Absa Group for 10 years until his retirement in June last year. He had been with Absa since 1975 and held various executive positions, including group chief executive for four years prior to his tenure as chairperson.

Commenting on his appointment, Cronje said: “I am honoured to have been asked to chair one of South Africa’s leading global companies. Sappi will remain committed to growing on a global basis and to delivering shareholder value.”

Speaking on behalf of the board, independent non-executive director Dave Brink paid tribute to Van As: “Sappi’s success in growing from a local pulp and paper producer to becoming the world leader in coated fine paper and chemical cellulose is testimony to the drive, determination and vision of a great leader.

“Eugene van As is an exceptional son of Africa who has played a crucial role in establishing Sappi as a business on the global stage.”

Cronje is also a director of Barclays plc, Barclays Bank plc and TSB Sugar Holdings. He holds a DCom from Potchefstroom University (now the University of the North West). — I-Net Bridge

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