Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Waheed Sulaiman

Waheed Sulaiman

Wescoal

FILLING Andre Bojé’s shoes was no easy task, but Sulaiman has done an impressive job. He stepped in as acting CEO after Bojé, the straight-talking veteran of the coal industry who also founded Wescoal, left the company following a boardroom bust-up. Sulaiman was only made CEO a year later. But in his eighteen months at the helm, and with the backing of chairman Robinson Ramaite, the company has finally managed to sign a long-term offtake agreement with Eskom for its Elandspruit colliery and introduce a black empowerment structure that will also bring in cash. Operationally, Wescoal is delivering on all cylinders. Elandspruit has reached steady-state production and group revenue in the current year is likely to double last year’s which already registered a year-on-year improvement. As a result, shareholders enjoyed an interim and a special dividend. With cash in its pockets and its mines operating efficiently, Wescoal is in a prime position to buy other coal businesses which may be seeking strong black empowerment credentials. Although this is Sulaiman’s first job as a CEO, his methodical pursuit of Wescoal’s growth strategy reflects over a decade of experience in strategy and business development in the mining sector. He previously worked for BHP Billiton’s coal and manganese businesses in South Africa.

LIFE OF WAHEED

He originally hails from Carnarvon in South Africa’s Northern Cape province. He has a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Cape Town and a B.Com in business management from Unisa. His CV mentions an elementary knowledge of Spanish picked up whilst working on a copper mine in Chile, but Sulaiman claims to have forgotten it by now.

“The company is in a much more sustainable and robust position.”