Marketing consultancy Vuma Reputation Management adopts B-BBEE

14 November 2017 4 min. read

South African Advisory firm Vuma Reputation Management has had a reshuffle in its ownership. Following a transaction with three members of the company’s executive team, the firm have shifted to being 51% black-owned and 30% black-female-owned, with the objective of meeting Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) criteria.

The B-BBEE is a 2014 government initiative that aims to promote economic equality in South Africa by way of empowering groups that were previously downtrodden in the country, including Black African, Coloured, and Indian people. The Act stipulates certain Codes of Good Practice, each of which is assigned a certain number of points. These include: Ownership (25 points), Management Control (19), Skills Development (25), Enterprise and Supplier Development (40), Socio-economic development (5).

The initiative has picked up across the country over the past few years, and the latest firm to restructure in order to match the stipulations is consulting firm Vuma Reputation Management. Vuma is a prominent firm in South Africa, specialising in reputation management, crisis communication, stakeholder management and media relationship management. The firm also conducts training in these fields.

The marketing consultancy, which was founded in 2005 by management professional Janine Hills, has had at least 50 JSE-listed companies as its clients, including a number of Multinational Corporations, stretching across 10 African countries.

In a bid to bolster diversity, Vuma’s ownership has been redistributed amongst its leadership team. Three executives – Tshepo Sefotlhelo, the executive director of operations; Palesa Madumo, executive director of strategy, and Kgomotso Moalusi, the executive director of client centricity and media – have been awarded a cumulative stake of 51% in the firm. The stake comes in the form of a loan from the company, which will be returned via the dividends earned by the firm. All three have a long association with the firm as employees.

Marketing consultancy Vuma Reputation Management adopts B-BBEE

Commenting on the restructuring, Sefotlhelo said, “As shareholders, our goal is to double the size of the business in the next three years through acquiring long-term clients and growing existing business. We also see huge potential for new opportunities for the rest of the continent, where we have affiliates that we will collaborate with to secure new business.”

Meanwhile, Moulasi said, “As a black African female reputation management and communications professional, I believe the sector requires fast-tracking, from a Black ownership perspective, therefore, this deal will certainly assist in the journey to levelling the playing field.”

The third shareholder, Madumo expressed similar sentiments by saying, “This transaction is a great step for our industry and an achievement I am personally proud to be a part of. More importantly, it is a clear and strong response to our transformation goals as a country,”

Hills also expressed delight at the transaction, stating “I am not lonely at the helm anymore. I could not have chosen better partners to work with to take our company to the next growth phase. I am hugely excited that I have a young and capable team around me, which will provide our clients with world-class services that will surely enhance their reputations.”

Towards diversity

The move represents a major move towards inclusiveness and empowerment. Firstly, it has contributed to the Marketing, Advertisement, and Communications charter’s black ownership target of 45%. The firm now also falls in line with the B-BBEE amendment act no. 46 of 2016 from the Department of trade and Industry.

The second diversity goal that the move aligns with is that of female representation in the business environment, an issue that is increasingly being discussed in South Africa. Strategy firm Bain & Company recently published a report that highlighted how women in South Africa were unable to ascend to executive positions, despite having both the intention and capability of doing so.

This situation appears to be improving. Earlier this year, BP appointed Priscillah Mabelane as their new CEO in South Africa, making her the first ever black female CEO in the oil industry of the country. The appointment followed two other female appointments from BP in the country, both belonging to non-white ethnicities. The restructuring from Vuma Reputation Management has brought its black female ownership up to an impressive 30%, which will surely do wonders for overall goals of inclusiveness in the country.