Currently in its 92nd year of operations, sub-Saharan Africa’s leading industrial gases and welding company Afrox originally opened its doors in 1927 as Allen-Liversidge Industrial Gases.

British Oxygen (The BOC Group) bought a controlling interest in 1935 and Afrox went public in 1963. Some 6,500 South Africans took shares in an initial public offer that was over-subscribed 32 times, a record that was to stand for many years on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE)

Schalk Venter has been at the helm for the last three years, taking on the role of Managing Director in 2015.

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Source: Afrox

“My role has been and remains to enable the business to be fit for purpose,” Venter said in an interview which will feature in gasworld’s Global October issue.

“Of course, this is easier said than done. The economic conditions in South Africa have steadily weakened in recent years and Afrox has had to change to reflect this reality. Efficiencies, cost to serve, price cost recovery and, above all, safety have been key factors in our renewal.”

“We also continue to drive a culture of personal accountability, being engaged, agile in our decisions, collaboration and just caring for one another, our outputs, product quality, caring about safety and our customers.”

“Inherent in this culture change is the fact we start fresh every year. By that I mean last year’s achievements are old news; every new year has a new set of challenges to overcome, a new set of targets requiring new thinking, and new solutions.”

“Driving and underpinning this mindset is of course leadership and that is my number one task at Afrox, to provide visible leadership and direction and enable self-belief within management and the business to make the hard and courageous decisions when needed.”

“In 2018, that translates to a focus on enhancing the customer experience, building future business prospects and further improving operational efficiency.”

Read the full interview, published in the October issue of gasworld Global, here. To read the rest of this article you need to be a subscriber.

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