PEOPLE WHO CARE.
That’s t he t y pe of va l ues t hat attracted him to medicine (he worked as a veterinarian before switching careers). As soon as he s wapped his wardrelated work for boardroom activities, collecting an MBA and a diploma in f inancial management, Friedland was dying to “synthesise what the heart and head want” – that’s to paraphrase a point discussed in one of his favourite leadership books, The book, packed with case studies, also explains why CEOs fail, says Friedland. Despite missteps and bumping heads with peers and politicians a few times, he’s obviously taken notes.
Well, that’s the only non-Netcarerelated question he answers. “I just don’t like talking about myself,” he says when asked more personal questions. Friedland, who rose to Netcare’s hot seat after a stint in the 1990s at Medicross, which was bought by Netcare in 2001, says he has “no ego” to stroke, hence his reluctance to answer personal questions. “It really isn’t my kind of thing.”
Turning to people around him and support staff, the man at the helm suddenly opens up again. Friedland sings their praises, stressing that their DNA, like his, is “care”. He explains how the group rewards talent and grows its own timber. He is an example. So is chief financial officer Keith Gibson, primary care managing director Charmaine Pailman and business development director Tumi Nkosi, who all joined Netcare about a decade ago in lowerranked posts.
“There are no passengers at Netcare,” Friedland says of fellow leaders and staff across the rungs. “We’re all hard workers. We’re metric- driven and believe in teamwork.”