Business

Alec Joannou: A native relationship genius

Born in Johannesburg to Greek parents, Alec Joannou, global CIO of Sasol, describes himself as 'proudly South African Greek'.

Sasol a huge multinational is a proudly South African heritage.

"We have 30 000 IT users spread over four continents, 400 IT employees and an additional 600 contractors through our partners."

Unlike many multinationals, Sasol's CIO is still based in SA. "This puts us in the position to truly influence the business and make a difference in the country."

Sasol has had several journeys with Joannou at the IT helm. The first was the 'brutal facts' journey, getting the basics right and winning the trust of the company. "When we had the right to present strategy at board level, we knew we had achieved this."

The next was 'Vision 2020', which was about globalising Sasol, a company with many divisions.

"We needed to standardise across the globe. The final transformation went live last year. As an example, we reduced over 20 data centres to one in each of the major regions, which resulted in three data centres. The overall transformation savings allowed us to create three new divisions: a data division, a security division, and an analytics division."

Joannou is now spearheading the Modern IM (information management) journey, preparing Sasol to be ready for the digital era. He is passionate about people and has succeeded in making Sasol IM a place where people strive to work in.

On a personal level, he has been married for 25 years and has four children. He is also a big believer in helping others, and sits on two NGO boards: CHAPS, a fighter in the war against HIV/AIDS, and the Maharishi Institute, which makes tertiary education accessible for all.

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