‘Meet the Boss’ is a How we made it in Africa interview series where we pose the same ten questions to business leaders across the continent.[hidepost=9][/hidepost]
Ronnie Krüger, CEO, Powertech Africa
1. What was your first job?
Sales rep for Dunlop Sports.
2. Who has had the biggest impact on your career and why?
I would have to say my dad who worked on the mines for 37 years. Why? Because he always taught me to go get what I want, to stick out, and go get educated. So I have to say, certainly in the beginning parts of my career, my dad had the biggest impact on my career.
3. What parts of your job keep you awake at night?
Making money – and I’m not joking. Keeping business profitable, making sure that you continually employ the right people and develop the right people. I think that there is such a skills shortage at the moment that just in terms of keeping people and continuing to keep people interested in staying with your business is probably most CEOs’ concern.
4. What are the top reasons why you have been successful in business?
Tenacity, the will to want to succeed, and what I call corporate entrepreneurship – so to be able to be an entrepreneur within a corporate structure. I think if we all look at [the company we work for] as if it’s our own business, you can only succeed.
5. What are the best things about South Africa?
6. And the worst?
7. Your future career plans?
At my age? Probably to have my own business before retirement.
8. How do you relax?
I play squash, I do a lot of reading and I spend a lot of time with my children.
9. What is your message to Africa’s young aspiring business people and entrepreneurs?
Keep focused, educated and honest.
10. How can Africa realise its full potential?
By not seeing itself as second class to Europe and the rest of the world. I think as Africans, including South Africans, we sometimes think that we are behind Europe and we are third world. We may be third world in terms of infrastructure, but certainly as far as innovation and ideas Africa has come a very long way in the last ten years. I don’t think we need to stand back for America or Europe – or for the East for that matter – but sometimes we think that we should because of what the media tell us and because of what politicians tell us. I think that if we just stood up as an African continent and said, “we can make it happen,” – I think we could.
Ronnie Krüger is the CEO of Powertech Africa, a branch of Powertech that was opened this year. Powertech is a South African-based supplier of electronic and electrical equipment.