Mr Prakash Desai
Prakash Desai joined Wits as Chief Financial Officer in January 2017. He is a Chartered Accountant and holds BCom and BCom Honours in Accounting Science degrees. Desai has filled various leadership and strategic roles over a long career. He held executive positions at both local and global multinationals.
Prior to joining Wits, Desai worked in the financial sector as Chief Executive Officer of the Afrifocus Securities (Pty) Limited group. Before that he served as Group Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer and Group Financial Director at Times Media, Johncom and Avusa Limited respectively, and at the unlisted international Philips Group of Companies. Philips covered the technology, retail, marketing and manufacturing sectors.
Desai has also filled non-executive posts in the public and private sectors. He served on the Board of Caxton Publishers and Printers Ltd, a public listed company, from September 2000 to April 2007 and on its audit committee from February 2006 to April 2007. From June 2003 to November 2007 he served on the Board of M-Net/SuperSport and on its audit committee from June 2003 to November 2007. He is presently non-executive Chairman of Afrifocus Securities (Pty) Ltd.
In the university sector Desai has served as a member of the Board of the University of Witwatersrand Health Consortium (Pty) Ltd since May 2003. He chairs the audit and risk committee and the strategy and investment committee. He is a member of the remuneration and transformation committee, the sustainability committee, and the directors’ affairs committee. He served as a Board member of the University of Venda Foundation from 2005 to 2009.
Desai has also served on industry bodies including as a Board member of the World Association of Newspapers and Newspaper Publishers, from 2008 to 2012. He served two terms from August 2008 to July 2011 as President of Print Media South Africa, which represents over 700 newspaper and magazine titles in South Africa. He was also Chairman of the Board of the Newspaper Association of South Africa from August 2008 to July 2011.
In terms of charities, Desai was a trustee of the Argus Voting Trust from 2002 to 2012 and treasurer of the Kwaito Relief Fund from 2003 to 2005.
In these various roles Desai has focused on contributing to strategy, change and adding value. He brings these same objectives to Wits.