The Coega Development Corporation (CDC) today announced that in addition to winning the Infrastructure Development and Top Performing Public Service awards, CDC’s head of marketing and communications, Dr Ayanda Vilakazi, was named the country’s Top Executive of the Year (under forty).
The Top Young Executive of the Year Award under 40 years category highlighted the outstanding achievement of a young executive who has contributed immensely to the positive success, sustainability, and performance of an organisation through innovative strategies and solutions that delivers both customer and shareholder value.
Dr. Vilakazi, competed as Finalists against other formidable individuals from private and public sector companies, including:
- Amasondo Fleet Services – Brenda Matyolo
- Aramex South Africa – Jacques Cilliers
- Benhaul – Pamela Segone
- DQS – Debbie Bekker
- Ekurhuleni Artisans Skills Training Centre – Martie Jansen van Rensburg
- Khaas Logistics – Connie Mdladla
- KMH Architects – Wayne Mansfield
- Longspan Gutters – Paul Marais
- Palabora Copper – Keith Mathole
- Recruitgroup – Juliette Attwell
“I was honoured to win such a prestigious award, which is an inspiration to many young business executives who believe in hard work, dedication to service excellence, patience, and are focussed on long term objectives instead of short term unsustainable gratification,” says Dr Vilakazi. He advised the young business executives to focus on personal development, innovation, and to assist their businesses to deliver both customer and shareholder value not only for this generation but for many generations to come. He discouraged the epidemic of tenderpreneurs, which in his opinion is misleading or deceptive success that is not sustainable.
Dr. Vilakazi has more than 17 years’ experience in marketing, brand, and communications senior leadership roles. Vilakazi has worked as; Key Account’s Manager at Simba SA (Pty Ltd), Key Accounts Manager at Exxon Mobil SA (Pty Ltd), National Business Manager at Colgate Palmolive (Pty) Ltd, Executive Officer at the Johannesburg metropolitan bus services (Pty Ltd), Sales Marketing Director for the Automobile Association of SA and Executive Manager at the Road Accident Fund (RAF).
In addition, Dr. Vilakazi also served as Group Head of Brand and Marketing for Metropolitan Holdings Limited (a JSE Listed entity).
He is currently employed by Coega Development Corporation (CDC) as the Head of Marketing, Brand and Communications (including Stakeholder Management).
He attributes his success in these organisations to an excellent training and foundation he received from Unilever South Africa’s graduate development programme in sales and marketing.
His contribution to the companies he worked for has been exceptional. In addition, his service over the past 17 years has been exemplary given many challenges he had to overcome. The recognition by the BBQ Awards as Community Builder of the Year in 2013 was an important recognition for socio economic development.
With regards to Membership and Directorship, he is currently the Non-Executive Director and Chairman of MC5 Shipping South Africa (Pty) Ltd.
Dr. Vilakazi holds a Doctorate Degree in Business Administration (DBA) from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA), Post-graduate Diploma in Business Management (PDBM), Honour’s Degree in Marketing Management, and B. Com Degree in Marketing Management, Maritime Economics, and Business Administration from the University of Natal.
In terms of professional certification, Dr Vilakazi is a Chartered Marketer of South Africa or CM (SA). He is also a Chartered Institute of Marketing Member or (MCIM-UK). Dr Vilakazi is an Internationally Published Author, having published an academic book (May 2014) by Lambert Academic Publishing in Europe and available in most countries in Europe, USA, Africa, Asia, and UK (ISBN: 978-3-659-15456-0). He has also published, on behalf of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, academic papers for journals in Africa and Asia, including the Journal of Transport and Supply Chain Management published by the University of Johannesburg.
“Winning this award bears testament to an incredible achievement in the Corporate South Africa, through hard work, tenacity, and alacrity to succeed and overcome obstacles. Given such a responsibility at a young age has been no easy task, however failure has never been an option, hence the drive and passion to be a highly respected and successful Executive. Furthermore, completing an MBA at 25 years and a Doctorate in Business Administration in April this year at 37 years is testament to a job well done at such a young age.”
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