IVAN MAY: RENAISSANCE MAN
Ivan May well must have been surprised at the extent of his achievements. His death at 63 of kidney cancer brought to an end a career of enormous variety, versatility and intellectual achievement. He probably was best known for his enormous role in South African marketing during a 40-year career spanning education, marketing, advertising, financial services and numerous social causes.
Even so, it was an eye-opener to see him described in a Google biography as “a biological scientist with a strong academic background and a number of significant scientific publications to his name”. He then completed an MBA degree and launched a successful business career. At Nedbank he established the Green Trust and the Nedbank Green Affinity Programme that funds it, raising R100m over 20 years. The trust has received numerous global awards, including the WWF Golden Panda Award presented by Prince Phillip.
Probably as close to being a renaissance man as you’ll find in present-day SA, he listed on his CV more than 150 positions, directorships, achievements and awards. He played defining roles in the Advertising Standards Authority, the Loerie Awards, the re-established Marketing Association, Aids charities, the Constitution Hill Trust and the salvaging of Radio Today.
His positions of honour include Knight of Justice of the Venerable Order of St John of Jerusalem, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a Chevalier of the Chaine des Rotisseurs and a member of the International Wine and Food Society
And if that wasn’t enough, – the Oprah Winfrey magazine – has named him a “Man of Honour”.