Stepping up: Tammy Rosse is the dynamic new CFO at material handling and industrial equipment company

Tammy Rosse has been appointed Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of CFAO Equipment SA (formerly EIE Group) with effect from 1 April 2022. It’s a role she will bring her own particular flair and pragmatic approach to.

“This is an exhilarating time for our business. Having recently become part of a really big group of companies, being CFAO Group based in France, a wholly owned subsidiary of Toyota Tsusho Corporation in Japan, we now have direct access to our primary OEM as well as new potential markets across Africa, leaving many exciting opportunities ahead of us.”

Rosse’s journey to becoming CFO started in 2009 when – armed with a BComm Accounting Sciences and Honours degree from the University of Pretoria – she joined Deloitte in Johannesburg in 2009 to commence her auditing articles. In 2012, she was seconded to Deloitte in Miami where she spent six months before returning to South Africa to take up the position of audit manager.

She says securing the job was one of her career highlights because audit manager posts were scarce at the time. “There was high supply and low demand for audit managers and I was one of the lucky few to stay on as an audit manager at Deloitte. For the next three and a half years, I gained excellent audit experience, juggling various clients, deadlines and teams.”

She moved out of audit and into the commercial environment in 2015 when she joined EIE Group as a financial manager. A year later, she was appointed Group Financial Manager, a role she fulfilled until her recent appointment as CFO.

She says being appointed CFO is recognition of the effort she has put into developing herself and building her career over the past decade. “While managing the finance team remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic and overseeing our recent acquisition by CFAO Holdings SA, the last three years have been the toughest years of my career, but they have also resulted in immense personal and professional growth for me.

“I have learned that today’s turmoil is tomorrow’s opportunity and that even when the situation seems insurmountable, it is possible to overcome challenges, learn from them and move forward. For me, my promotion of the role of CFO is testament to the fact that hard work does pay off,” she adds.

Key for Rosse is maintaining an open-door policy. “Communication and accessibility are important focus areas for me. In the past, employees have not always felt comfortable approaching executives in the business. This needs to change. I believe it is critical to always have the greater good of the people and the business at heart and this is where I hope to bring a different perspective.”

Rosse says the role of CFO will allow her to continue her learning journey and get to know even more about the industry, the business and its customers and suppliers.

“Bridging the barriers of our own organisational boundaries is important. Importantly, we are focused on being a total solutions partner to our customers. To achieve this, we have to have to have an in-depth understanding of what our customers want, where the industry is going and how we can differentiate ourselves within this milieu.

From an overall strategy perspective, I intend to interact with all divisions within the business to determine how to continuously add value for our investors and stakeholders.”

Another big task for Rosse will be driving the conversion of the business’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) software over the next 24 months. “We have never been through a conversion before, so this will be a monumental challenge for us as an organisation,” she says.

On leading the finance function in a largely male-dominated industry, Rosse says she is highly conscious of often being the only female in the boardroom a lot of the time. “While we are making great strides in creating a greater balance between males and females in our business, the greater industry still remains very much male dominated.

“I feel that women have so much value to add. We are master multi-taskers and we bring a completely different approach to handling situations. We are resourceful and communicative, making collaboration a key objective within our teams,” she adds.

Looking ahead, Rosse says the future looks bright for CFAO Equipment SA. “We are the market leader in our chosen field and we will continue to cement our position as the premium supplier of quality material handling and warehousing equipment in our market. Innovation, customer-centricity and total-solutions will be our primary focus moving forward.”