Grain SA CEO shares his thoughts around his departure

Jannie de Villiers says that he wants to leave the organisation with a legacy of “finishing well”.

After 10 years as the CEO of Grain SA, Jannie de Villiers has announced that he will be leaving the commodity organisation at the end of August 2021.

“I am turning 60 [this year] and it is time for a new season for me,” he said. De Villiers, whose departure was planned two years ago, says he wants to leave a legacy of finishing well.

“I want to leave a team and a successor who can continue to ensure sustainable grain production in South Africa and for Grain SA to keep growing. Most of the things I planned are in place, but some will continue way beyond my time,” he reflected.

According to De Villiers, the top issues that his successor will have to address include land reform and climate change. “Grain production margins are currently under pressure and we need to ensure profitable farmers to sustain our food secure status as a country,” he said.

After leading companies in a CEO role for almost three decades, De Villiers also had some advice for new CEOs during these uncertain times. “Watch and work closely with good leaders, read as much as you can on leadership, lead something to implement what you have learnt and develop people,” he advised.

He has almost three decades of experience leading companies, first taking on the role of CEO at the Chamber of Milling in 1992.

De Villiers is keen to continue contributing to the agricultural sector, especially through the Leadership Academy for Agriculture that he founded nine years ago.

“I am also mentoring some younger agricultural leaders and young pastors. I will also continue to serve on some agricultural trusts and boards as long I can make a useful contribution. I also plan to spend more time with my wife of 36 years, on the farm and in the bushveld,” he added.
Grain SA, which currently has 62 employees, has not yet identified a successor.