The appointment of Andrew Darfoor as CE of Alexander Forbes last week — nearly six months after Edward Kieswetter quit — has come as a surprise to the investment community .
Darfoor, who starts his new job this week, joins the pension administrator from Canadian insurer Sun Life Financial (SLF), where he headed its international arm.
Investment analysts approached by the Financial Mail have never heard of Darfoor.
"We have not met the man and know very little about him apart from the public CV," says Abax Investments’ Anthony Sedgwick. He wouldn’t say more until Abax has had a chance to interact with Darfoor directly.
Adrian Cloete, a portfolio manager at PSG Wealth, says: "As Darfoor is an international appointment, I have never met him or actively followed the companies he was involved in. [I’m] not in a position to comment on the appointment."
Darfoor has more than 20 years’ experience, with stints at insurer Old Mutual, bankers Credit Suisse and UBS, and professional services firm EY.
He’s been CEO of the Bermudan arm of Old Mutual, which he joined as regional financial controller in its American business — now Old Mutual Asset Management.
Alexander Forbes chairman Sello Moloko says the board plans to introduce Darfoor to the investment community after he settles into his position.
Moloko has known Darfoor for some time, having met him in London while Moloko — himself a financial services professional and former president of the Association of Black Securities & Investment Professionals — was working as an analyst.
He declines to reveal how many candidates his board considered. "[Darfoor] is a high-calibre leader with global financial services experience and a record of strategic business growth."
Darfoor says aside from the structure of the business, which provides similar services to SLF International, the "chemistry" between him and Moloko was one of the reasons he chose to move to SA.