Leadership Spotlight: Angelo Petersen, Group GM, Capespan

March 18, 2015
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Tell us about your company and your role?

For many years, the Capespan name has been synonymous with fresh produce in particular and, more recently, logistics throughout the world. As such, the Capespan Group (CGL) invests in and manages a portfolio of companies offering a range of quality products, value-added products and related services in fresh produce and logistics internationally.

I am the Group General Manager for Corporate Services and a director of various Capespan subsidiaries. My portfolio is responsible for strategy, human resources, sustainability, stakeholder management and strategic business initiatives globally. I also serve as Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the PPECB (Perishable Produce Exports Control Board), a Cape Town based national entity responsible for the quality assurance of all export fresh produce from South Africa.

 What is the best thing about running a business in Cape Town?

Although the region has many challenges, its natural beauty and quality of life is a source of inspiration. The focus on reduced bureaucracy, innovation, connectedness and inclusivity coupled with a very collaborative approach between business, Government and civil society makes it a great place to be. The region’s collective response to the recent devastating fires underscores this statement.

What can be done to further enhance the Business environment?

Focus on a further reduction of red tape and ensuring that we have key messaging that the region is not only about natural beauty and tourism, but a serious place to grow your business and position yourself for growth throughout Africa. A strong focus on our world class services and infrastructure should be part of our key messaging strategy. In the region you can work hard and play hard!

Describe Cape Town’s business community

The Cape Town business community has often been described as “cliquey”, but this has, however, changed in recent times with a number of collaborative exchanges between business, civil society and all spheres of Government. Further focus on embracing diversity in our business communities will enhance inclusiveness.

Accelerate Cape Town is committed to developing a long-term vision and future strategy for the region, and Vision 2030 described the business vision for the region in 2009.  What would you say are currently the most important parts of “Vision 2030” for the city and region?

To me, a vision is a strong statement of aspirational goals we would like to achieve in the future. Visions often remain aspirational if you do not embrace them through concerted action-oriented effort and direction. Vision 2030 contains the aspirational goal of turning the Cape Town region into Africa’s global city of innovation and inspiration. I am gratified to see many strategies contained in Vision 2030 already being incorporated into the various strategies and work streams of a plethora of private sector companies, Government departments, development agencies, NGO’s and civil society organizations. Our recent award as Design Capital for 2014, the ongoing success of our conferencing and destination marketing initiatives, and the growth and international attractiveness of our tertiary institutions places the region well into the action mode of working towards achieving Vision 2030. On a cautionary note, we should remain focused on our goals and not fall into the temptation or short term seduction of being all things to all people.

How long have you lived in Cape Town?

I am a born and bred Capetonian and grew up on the Cape flats. I am very passionate about turning this region into a Global African city where all its people can live inspired lives and in so doing turn the tide on the legacy of poverty and inequality as a result of our sad past.

What is your favourite place to visit in Cape Town?

Although I live in the Winelands, I love the inner city vibe, diversity and energy, with its amazing architecture, jazz culture, eateries, and theatres. The Cape Town Club, now housed in its original Sir Herbert Baker building, remains a favourite to visit and show off when I am in Cape Town.

How would you describe your ideal Saturday afternoon in the city?

My ideal Saturday afternoon normally starts after a round of golf at one of the many exquisite golf courses the region offers. I love a traditional South African braai with my wife, two daughters and friends next to the pool in summer with a great Sauvignon Blanc. In winter, it’s next to the fire place with a great South African red.

What would you choose as a tag line for Cape Town (as a business city)?

“Be inspired”

Who do you most admire in the business world?

I really admire people who are able to reinvent themselves and succeed despite adverse circumstances and humble beginnings. We are blessed to have a number of such people in all spheres of South African society. Internationally, Richard Branson is the quintessence of entrepreneurship, and locally, business leaders such as Jannie Mouton of PSG, Stephen Saad of Aspen and Mzoli Ngcawuzele owner of Mzoli’s Place tick the box for me.

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