Rylands takes Woolies’ reins
She is arguably South Africa’s most influential foodie. As head of Woolworths Food, Zyda Rylands stocked her way into the homes of those South Africans who prize quality, and ramped up returns for the retailer. Last week’s results showed Woolworths bucking the trend of lower sales in the country.
This week, the tailor’s daughter and chartered accountant became CEO of Woolworths SA, the hub of the group’s fast-growing global ambitions. The 51-year-old, who hails from Cape Town, knows hard work. “I received a study loan from a business associate of my father and worked every weekend and holiday to repay it,” she says. “I come from a rich and vibrant culture. We love to celebrate and do so around the table with food. I have always had a love and a passion for food.”
Rylands does a wide range of good works through serving on the boards of organisations in housing and development; democracy; and working for survivors of violence and trauma. She was chairperson of the audit committee for Parliament and served as a nonexecutive director of the Black Management Forum.
– Staff reporter