Cape Town based Clem Sunter was voted by South African leading CEOs as the speaker who has made the most significant contribution to, and impact on, best practice and business in South Africa.
Born in England, he went to Oxford where he read Politics, Philosophy and Economics. In 1971, he moved to Zambia to work for Anglo American Corporation Central Africa before being transferred in 1973 to the Head Office of Anglo American Corporation of South Africa in Johannesburg. He spent most of his subsequent career in the Gold and Uranium Division, serving as its Chairman and CEO from 1990 to 1996 and he served as Chairman of the Anglo American Chairman’s Fund.
In the early 1980s, he established a scenario planning function in Anglo with teams in London and Johannesburg. With material gathered by his team members, Mr. Sunter put together a presentation entitled ‘The World and South Africa in the 1990s’ which became very popular in South Africa in the mid-1980s. In it, two scenarios were offered for South Africa: the ‘High Road’ of negotiation leading to a political settlement and the ‘Low Road’ of confrontation leading to a civil war and a wasteland. South Africa took the High Road. Two highlights for Clem were a presentation to FW de Klerk and the Cabinet in 1986 and a visit to Nelson Mandela in prison to discuss the future just before his release.
Since 1987, he has authored or co-authored – with Chantell Ilbury – more than 15 books, several of which have been bestsellers. His other main interest is seeking to mobilise the private sector in the war against HIV/AIDS.
He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Cape Town for his work in the field of scenario planning, a skillset which he continues to share with organisations worldwide.