Professor Adrian Saville

Professor/Dr. Adrian Saville’s latest presentation is entitled: “Leading the Way Out of Crisis”. Businesses that recover quickest and sustain strongest growth and performance out of crises share common attributes, behaviours and habits – sometimes called strategies. This talk draws on experiences of country crises – and especially synchronised crises – such as the Asian crises, Y2K and Twin Towers and global financial crisis. Based on more than 5,000 companies over a period of 15 years (and a further 1,200 emerging market companies over a 20-year), the evidence identifies behaviours and strategies across countries and industries that point the way to quicker recovery and stronger rebuilding. Company crisis often is self-inflicted, but country crisis is imposed and the evidence of company recovery out of country crisis provides rich insights into the design and execution of company strategy.

Adrian has run sessions with executive teams in various countries (Brazil, UK, South Africa, Ireland, Nigeria, US) across different 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 level.

His qualifications include a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) (cum laude), M.Com (cum laude) and PhD (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 and competitive strategy at New York’s Columbia University and Harvard Business School in Boston.

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. Today Adrian serves as Chief Executive at Cannon Asset Managers.

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

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.

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

Expertise & Key Themes:

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