Spur Corporation has appointed Val Nichas as its new executive director and group chief executive officer. Nichas, a former Famous Brands exec and the first woman to lead the Spur group, will succeed Pierre van Tonder who will retire on 31 December 2020 after 38 years of service.
Nichas is an experienced strategist who has worked extensively in the restaurant sector and was formerly managing executive of quick-service restaurants (QSR) brands at Famous Brands, responsible for a portfolio of franchised brands with over 600 restaurants across Steers, Fishaways, and Giramundo.
Starting her career in marketing and advertising, she served as marketing director of Edgars between 1994 and 1998, senior vice president of international food company Rich Products Corporation, and managing director of Tequila Advertising.
She has also consulted to Nando’s Chickenland and was one of the leaders of the Nando’s advertising account team whilst at TequilaTBWA.
She joined Famous Brands in 1999 as marketing director of Debonairs Pizza and later served as managing executive of Wimpy (then 506 restaurants) and Steers (then 492 restaurants) before her appointment as head of QSR brands. Nichas has run her own consulting business for the past eight years, specialising in business strategy and planning.
Cristina Teixeira appointed group CFO
A further change to Spur’s executive leadership team is the appointment of Cristina Teixeira as group chief financial officer and as an executive director with effect from 1 February 2021. Teixeira will replace current CFO Phillip Matthee who has requested to step down from this position to take up a senior position in the finance department. He will assume the role of commercial accounting executive.
Teixeira has 12 years’ experience as a CFO in listed companies and was voted Businesswoman of the Year (corporate category) by the Businesswomen’s Association of SA in 2013.
Commenting on Nichas and Teixeira’s appointments, Spur Corporation chairman Mike Bosman said: “Val has a proven track record in managing a variety of big restaurant brands, backed by extensive experience in strategy in the corporate and consulting sectors. She is an excellent and well-respected leader who has a thorough understanding of the franchise restaurant industry and the board is confident that she has the credentials to lead the group as our industry and economy face a challenging future.
“Pierre has been MD and CEO of the Spur group for 24 years. Under sometimes very challenging circumstances, he and his teams have built the Spur business from about 40 restaurants when he took over the day-to-day leadership of the group, to the 631 restaurants that we have now.
“We are also pleased to appoint Cristina as our new CFO and believe that her experience in CFO roles in the listed environment will be very beneficial for the group. She has demonstrated her ability to lead finance teams in large organisations and is committed to the highest standards of financial reporting, disclosure and governance.”
Commenting on her appointment, Nichas said: “I am humbled that the board has entrusted me with leading Spur Corporation into its quantum growth phase. I am also pleased that Cristina will join me as CFO at this great organisation.
“We pay tribute to Pierre and the team who have established this impressive portfolio of great South African brands. Leveraging on this, we will collaborate with our people, franchise partners and suppliers to innovate and invigorate our brands into even more compelling and memorable dining experiences for our customers.”
The board also announced the appointments of Kevin Robertson (promoted to group chief operations officer), Graeme Kiewitz (group human resources executive) and Sacha du Plessis (chief marketing officer) as executive directors of Spur Corporation with effect from 15 October 2020.
Moshe Apleni, the group’s corporate communications and transformation manager, has also been appointed as the chairman of the Spur Foundation Trust.