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Stratifin Inc

In: Business and Management

Submitted By Musfirah333
Words 655
Pages 3
It was a chilly winter day in June 2010. Ben Adams, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of StratAFin Inc., reflected on the previous Friday’s company event when all the staff had spent the evening learning the diski1 dance, the official dance to celebrate the upcoming World Cup football tournament. The South African nation was united in its excitement about hosting this prestigious international sporting event held every four years in a different country, and the StratAFin atrium reflected this energy. The vast central area in the building was festooned with flags representing all the participating countries; the colour and diversity of the flags mirrored the diversity of employees and job functions within the firm. All the staff, from the most senior to junior levels, had embraced the diski dance evening with great enthusiasm. This made Adams reflect on the profound changes that both South Africa and StratAFin had undergone in the last decade.
Adams had loved the adrenaline rush of leading his firm through large-scale change for the last seven years. His dilemma now was whether he had done enough to align the company with the new operating environment in South Africa or if at this point there was a need for radical change. If so, did he have the right team, culture and business model in place to implement it?
A COUNTRY OF SWEEPING CHANGE
In 1994, South Africa emerged from a dark history of legislated polarization based on race. The apartheid system had enabled the small White minority to have the vote, hold most of the economic power in business and own the majority of the land. Apartheid affected every area of daily life, and there was systemic racism in all aspects of society. Consequently, global sanctions were placed on the country, resulting in businesses becoming internally focused.
In the 1994 general elections, the African National Congress (ANC) was voted into power, and Nelson Mandela became the first democratically elected president (see Exhibit 1). In the eyes of the international community, South Africa was no longer “the polecat of the world.”2 The new government inherited a country in which the provision of basic needs (housing, health, education, access to water and electricity) for the majority of the population was insufficient.3 The gross domestic product (GDP) real growth rate in 1994 was approximately 1.1 per cent,4 and the country’s Gini coefficient (measurement of inequality between rich and poor) was 59.3.5 By 2002, the GDP real growth rate had increased to 2.6 per cent6; however, the Gini coefficient had increased to 65,7 which signaled greater inequality between rich and poor over the previous eight years. Life expectancy had dropped from age 65 to age 45, due largely to the dramatic increase in HIV/AIDS. During this period, the government focused on extending health care and crucial infrastructure of water, sanitation and housing to the broader population.8 After 1994, a huge Black middle class emerged, but there was still a need for a further transfer of economic power. As a result, there was a push for implementation of industry charters to address this and for Black Economic Empowerment (BEE9) to be a consideration in most government policies. While initially there was no clearly articulated strategy, BEE was more carefully defined by the BEE Commission in 2000. A formalized strategy for broad-based BEE was released three years later in 2003.10 In 2010, there was still much debate in the media about racial issues and whether the transfer of economic power had, in fact, taken place. The country still faced societal challenges with the education backlog, imbalance of wealth, systemic racism and perceptions of reverse discrimination. In spite of this, South Africa remained a rapidly developing state, the economic powerhouse of Africa. Furthermore, hosting the 2010 World Cup football tournament encouraged much more global interest in the country, which promised interesting possibilities for South African businesses.

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