Board Member: Christo Fourie
Christo Fourie qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1993 following the completion of his audit articles at Coopers and Lybrand (Johannesburg office) in December 1992.
Christo has spent his post-articles working life with the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa Limited (IDC). He joined the IDC’s Financial Investigations Department in 1994. In 1999, at the time of a major restructuring of IDC’s operations, Christo was redeployed to the newly established Workout and Restructuring Department (W&R).
As Senior Account Manager in W&R he was responsible for the restructuring of, or recovery from, a portfolio of distressed IDC clients. In 2001 Christo was promoted to the Head of W&R in which position he was responsible to lead and manage the department to achieve its main objective of minimising the IDC’s bad debt expenses by preventing the financial failure of identified high risk clients by initiating the restructuring and turnaround of such clients or alternatively to maximise the recovery of IDC’s exposure where the financial failure of a W&R client was unavoidable.
In January 2006 Christo was appointed as the Head of the IDC’s Corporate & Structured Finance Department. The Department provided a financial structuring service to the IDC’s operational SBUs in respect of both project and corporate finance type transactions. The Department applied innovative and customized funding structures and instruments (from senior debt through to pure equity) with the objective of ensuring and enhancing the quality and viability of transactions.
Towards the end of 2007 Christo was appointed as the Head of the IDC’s Venture Capital (VC) SBU, which was established earlier in 2007. The SBU provides equity funding and post investment support to local technology-focused start-ups in any industry to enable the completion of the development of globally unique South African intellectual property into market-ready products, followed by the commercialisation thereof, locally and/or internationally. By mid-2014 the SBU had invested more than R700 million in 35 local technology start-ups.
Christo has grown the team of dealmakers from 3 in 2007 to the current 13 (comprising two PhDs, four CAs, four MBAs and five Engineers). Specialist due diligence skills relating to the assessment of unproven technologies targeted at unproven markets as well as specialist skills relating to operational / strategic / management disciplines required for effective post-investment operational support and guidance have been built up in the SBU.
Christo serves / has served on the Boards of Directors of various companies in which IDC is / was invested. He currently serves on two Boards and also chairs these companies’ Audit and Risk Committees. He has further been the chairman of the Evaluation Panel (Investment Committee) of the dti’s Support Programme for Industrial Innovation (SPII) from 2008 until February 2012.
Christo has completed the Gordon Institute of Business Science’s Global Executive Development Programme as well as the Haas School of Business’ (University of California – Berkeley) Venture Capital Executive Programme.
Christo is married and has three boys. He likes watching his boys compete in gymnastics competitions. At home Christo likes listening to music, watching movies with his family on a Friday evening and catching up with them every evening around the dinner table, whilst enjoying a good glass of wine.