AFGRI Group Holdings (“AGH” or the “Group”) today announced that Chris Venter will be stepping down as Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) after 11 years in the role and a total of 15 years’ service to the Group in various capacities.
Michael Wilkerson, Chairman of the Board of Directors of AGH, commented, “On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Chris for his leadership and substantial contribution as CEO over this past decade. He was instrumental in re-shaping the Group around a vision to drive food security in the region through a focus on the grain value chain. Chris played a leading role in positioning AGH as a leading agricultural, financial services and foods business in South Africa and beyond. I together with the rest of the Board wish him all the best in his future endeavours.”
Chris joined the Group in June 2005 as Managing Director of AFGRI Financial Services. He was appointed to the Board of AFGRI Limited 2007 and in 2008 was appointed as CEO of the then listed entity. When the company delisted from the JSE in 2014, Venter continued as CEO of the Group until his resignation.
Chris successfully established significant strategic pillars of operation around agriculture, food, financial services and corporate social investment (specifically the upliftment, support and training of emerging farmers, in South Africa and southern Africa), while undertaking a programme for the divestiture of several non-core businesses, and strengthening the Group’s capital structure. This process culminated in the establishment of a strategic infrastructure platform (AFGRI Silo Company) in 2019. During this period, the Group’s B-BBEE rating increased from a level 6 to its current level 3, making AGH one of the most empowered large agricultural concerns in South Africa.
Tinus Prinsloo, a seasoned leader with deep knowledge of AFGRI, agriculture and finance, will assume the position of acting CEO of AGH. Tinus joined AFGRI in 2006 after a ten-year career at the Corporate Finance Unit of the Land Bank. He served as CEO of AFGRI Operations until becoming CEO of AFGRI Silo Company in mid-2019. Chris will support Tinus and the board to ensure a smooth handover in the coming months.
Johan Geel will rejoin AGH as Chief Operating Officer. With more than 25 years’ experience, Johan is a seasoned executive with a proven track record as a leader in the agricultural industry. Johan has most recently served as Group Financial Director for GWK Limited. Johan previously worked with with AGH for over 22 years in a variety of roles including as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer.
“It has been an amazing journey and certainly a privilege and honour to serve AFGRI and its shareholders in various capacities over the past 15 years. I enjoyed my time with the Group and was given an amazing opportunity by shareholders to positively impact the lives of people for which I will always be grateful. The agricultural landscape is an essential and dynamic sector across the world, playing a vital role in support of food security, which remains my passion and vision. I will be involved in this sector for a long time to come,” concluded Venter.