Sunday World (South Africa)

FNB Connect CEO believes in inclusive management

Roper says his role is to remove obstacles for his team to offer top service

- By Kabelo Khumalo kabelo@sundayworl­

It’s a long route from crime-infested Eldorado Park to the high echelons of one of the country largest and most popular banks.

But for Bradwin Roper, this is the reality he lives. At just 37 years, Roper is the CEO of FNB Connect, an internet service provider business operating as a business unit within Firstrand Bank group.

Last year, under Roper’s leadership, FNB Connect expanded the telecommun­ications solutions it offers by launching fibre-to-business products in partnershi­p with ICT provider Vox.

Roper believes in an inclusive leadership management style and taking people on board. He says it is important for everyone in the organisati­on to know the real purpose of the organisati­on, and why you do what you do.

“I see my role as an inverted triangle with a simple job descriptio­n; how can I remove as many obstacles for my teams to equip them to effectivel­y manage our business and create magic for our clients. This is especially true when managing knowledge workers,” he says.

“I am also fiercely deliberate of the culture existing in any business I am accountabl­e for. I aim for a highly inclusive culture; one where everyone matters, where everyone feels like they are adding tangible value and where we can also have fun. We give so much of our time to our work, so it’s important to me that it is joyful and inspiring.”

Besides Nelson Mandela, he takes inspiratio­n from businessma­n and clean governance crusader Bonang Mohale.

“He [Mohale] inspires and reminds us all to ‘Lift as we Rise’ in a truly African manner. His bravery in his quest for progress, like a turtle does when sticking its neck out (risking it all) in speaking truth, is admirable.”

I stress that anyone working for me should prioritise their needs above mine and work

He rates Jim Collins’ Good to Great as an old favourite read. “He reminds us that good is the enemy of great. That success comes from many tiny incrementa­l pushes in the right direction. His descriptio­n of the best leaders is that they are fanatical about results, want the company to continue performing long after they are gone and remain humble is the best I have read.”

Roper has a chemical engineerin­g degree from the University of Cape Town and an MBA from Gordon Institute of Business Science.

He has been entrusted with several leadership roles within FNB over the years, including two years as CEO of FNB Lesotho. Before that he was CEO: sales and service contact centre.

With all the long hours he has invested in his career over the years, Roper says it is critical to live a balanced life with family at the centre of everything.

“Family is important to me, and I stress that anyone working for me should prioritise their needs over mine and work.

“As an example, I advocate for parents being present at their children’s critical events [they only come around once]. I start every meeting inviting all participan­ts to check in from a head, heart and health perspectiv­e – which often requires tremendous bravery in being so vulnerable, but has helped build unbreakabl­e trust, especially over the past three years which have been so trying.”

 ?? ?? Bradwin Roper is CEO of FNB Connect.
Bradwin Roper is CEO of FNB Connect.

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