Dr. Adrian Saville

Dr. Adrian Saville is a Professor of Economics Finance and Strategy at GIBS. His latest presentation is entitled: ‘Leading the Way Out of Crisis’. Businesses that recover quickest and sustain the strongest growth and performance out of crises, share common attributes, behaviours and habits – sometimes called strategies. This talk draws on the experiences of more than 5,000 companies over a period of 15 years (and a further 1200 emerging market companies in a 20-year study) and looks at the likes of the Asian crises, Y2K, Twin Towers, and global financial crises. Company crises are often self-inflicted, while country crises are imposed. But what’s the quickest way to recover from them?

Adrian’s successful career has encompassed consulting widely to government and the corporate world, including serving as an economic consultant to Visa South Africa for whom he produces the Visa Africa Integration Index (2012-2018) and the Investec-GIBS Savings Index (2015-2021). He has presented to global audiences in destinations like Botswana, Brazil, Chile, Estonia, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Japan, Kenya, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Rwanda, Singapore, the United Kington, the United States, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

He has run sessions with executive teams in Brazil, the UK, Ireland, Nigeria, the U.S., and South Africa, across diverse sectors including food, agriculture, mining, financial services, tourism, real estate, and manufacturing, in response to the #GreatLockdown. The sessions include high-level positioning and translation into deliverables at divisional/operational levels.

His qualifications include a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) (cum laude), M.Com (cum laude), and Ph.D. (Economics), which he completed at the University of Natal in 1997 and for which he was awarded the Economics Society of South Africa’s Founders Medal. He is a UNESCO laureate and a matriculant of Linacre College (Oxford). He has completed programmes in investing, competitive strategy, game theory, and machine learning at New York’s Columbia University, Harvard Business School in Boston, Stanford, and the University of British Columbia.

In 1994, while completing his doctorate in economics, Adrian formed an investment vehicle that became the forerunner to Cannon Asset Managers, which he founded in 1998. In 2017 Bidvest Financial Services acquired Cannon Asset Managers where Adrian served as Chief Executive since the acquisition.

Adrian has experience in managing all the major asset classes and has successfully combined teaching and business, having lectured at the Universities of the Witwatersrand, KwaZulu-Natal and Pretoria, the London, Kelley (Indiana) and Estonian Business Schools, plus the Rotterdam School of Management.

He has held a Professorship of Economics, Finance & Strategy at the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) since 2003, where he teaches in the fields of macroeconomics, investment finance and strategy. Adrian has received the Excellence in Teaching Award at GIBS on ten occasions since 2007. In 2012, he was nominated for the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Business Professor of the Year Award and in 2014 he received the Central and East European Management Development Association award in teaching excellence.

His areas of expertise are:

  • Country & economic performance
  • Corporate strategy, business models and innovation
  • Investment markets