PJ Care’s chief executive officer Johann van Zyl has won a prestigious prize in this year’s Director of the Year awards, run by the Institute of Directors.
Johann has been named Family Business Director of the Year for the London and South East region.
Johann, who has been CEO at PJ Care since August 2012, said: “This is a real thrill for me. I am absolutely delighted to have been chosen as the winner of this prize from what was a really impressive field of entrants.
“It means a lot to me personally, but I have to pay tribute to all my colleagues and friends at PJ Care who are an absolute joy to work with.
“I cannot thank them enough for their passion and commitment. I look forward to my dealings with them every single day.
Johann added: “Being in charge of a complex, growing business like PJ Care is rarely straightforward, but having a great team around me makes the job a whole lot easier.”
He picked up the Director of the Year trophy at a ceremony on June 11 in the prestigious surroundings of the Nash Room at the Institute of Directors in Pall Mall, London
Johann moved to the UK from Tanzania, after a 25-year career running businesses in South Africa during and after the Apartheid era when racial segregation was the norm.
He said: “I went into business with a friend in the early 1980s. My business got off the ground when we started helping black taxi drivers in South Africa secure loans to pay for their vehicles, this business eventually led to the formation of the first black owned retail bank.
“We eventually became successful helping black people start their own businesses.
“The mid-1990s saw the end of Apartheid. We became consultants to a number of big car manufacturers who were keen to invest in South Africa. Then in 2007, I was offered an exciting new job – I needed a change and decided to take the position.
“I went to work as CEO for a gold mining company. It meant travelling around a huge area of Africa, seeing wonderful, wild and beautiful places like Ethiopia, Sudan and Namibia, and living in Tanzania. I had a fantastic time.
“After five years, I decided I was getting too old for all the travelling!
“Then I met Jan Flawn, who is chair and founder of PJ Care, just by chance. She happened to be looking for a chief executive to help her run the business. She offered me the job in 2012, and I jumped at the chance.
“I am so glad that I did!”
John Minards, South East regional leader of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, major sponsors of the competition, said: “The IoD awards celebrate some of the finest directors in our region who, in spite of the challenging backdrop, have demonstrated exceptional leadership and best in class performance.
“The quality and depth of the individuals short-listed for the awards leaves me confident that our region will continue to grow in 2014 and beyond.”
Johann and other winners from across the whole of London and the south east of England are automatically entered for the national award later in the year.