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Potatoes South Africa appoints new CEO

On Monday 18 January 2021, Willie Jacobs took over the leadership of Potatoes SA (PSA) as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) after Dr Andr Jooste, who recently left the organisation after 9 years of service as part of his career planning.

Initiatives established by Dr Jooste during his tenure are highly regarded and supported by the potato industry in South Africa. Under Dr Joostes leadership valuable research was done not only in terms of product, but also in terms of producer concerns in specific areas. 

The potato industry is privileged that Willie accepted the position of CEO at PSA. The Board of Directors of PSA is confident that Willie, given his expertise and experience as agricultural economist, will build and expand on the legacy of Dr Jooste.

Willie studied BSc Agricultural Economics at the University of the Free State and obtained an MBA at North West University. Recently he worked on several contracts as an independent consultant. Most of the contracts were agricultural funding and management related. Previously he worked as Executive at the Land Bank, serving corporate clients and later, as Executive Director of Obaro Financial Services, where farming activities were funded. While Dr Jooste created a good foundation for entrance into the market, it is Willie’s intention to utilise his financial expertise to optimise the profit bottom line of potato producers, and to place potatoes on a new level as product within the consumer marketing environment.

For Willie it is important to have the ability to address the risk of everything that could affect the quality, volume and consumer appeal of the product in order to support stability in the potato industry. The risk of the production of a specific cultivar lies in its quality and production volumes. For this reason, it is critical for PSA to continue to provide the research capacity, addressing these needs. 

Willie concedes that with all these factors taken into consideration, the producer as marketer and business owner, must understand all the factors that have an impact on their businesses by making informed decisions for themselves. Willie encourages PSA and its members to expand the market space of potatoes to the extent that there will be room for new entrees without impeding existing producers.

He sees his role in PSA as spearhead, with a sharp focus on the accuracy and relevance of the output of the organisation through a management style of involvement, participation, and facilitation. He trusts that each of the current staff of PSA, in his and her own way, is the best the market has to offer for their specific role, and he will find pride in bolstering that capacity.

Source: Potatoes South Africa
Photo: South African potato farmers have been achieving production yields of an average of 47 tonnes per hectare, on par with the highest in the world. | PotatoPro
For more information:
Hanrie Greebe
Email:[email protected]

Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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