The Institute of Directors was founded in London in 1903 and granted a Royal Charter by King Edward VII three years later.
IoD London establishes a branch in South
South Africa was certainly an
electrifying place to be in the 1960s.
The Nationalist Government
under the leadership of Dr Hendrik Vervoerd was embroiled in breathtaking
events including establishing South Africa as a Republic, causing an
international outcry following the Sharpeville massacre of 69 pass law
demonstrators, withdrawing from the Commonwealth, adopting a decimal system of
coinage, organising self Government for the Transkei, and imprisoning the key
leaders of the ANC and Communist parties to life at the infamous Rivonia Trial
– these were the hallmarks of the 1960s. The gold price was US$35 per ounce and
crude oil US$2.91 per barrel – how thing change in 50 years
of Directors in London
decided to open a branch in South
Africa just as the decade began. For two years prior to 1960, it would seem that Col G D Henderson
DSO OBE MC, who had recently retired as Secretary of the Witwatersrand
Agricultural Society, had been acting as Honorary Secretary in South Africa for the Institute
of Directors in London.
brief from London was mainly concerned with a
general canvass among qualified members
of the South African business community to join the IoD in London.
the same time an interim committee was formed under the energetic leadership of
Herbert Entwhistle, a Director of United Dominions Corp (SA) Ltd and apparently
it was felt that there was a sufficient potential membership in 1960 to call an
Inaugural General meeting of members to establish a local branch.
meeting took place on Thursday, 25th February, 1960, the purpose of
which was to formally establish a regular branch of the Institute
of Directors (London)
in South Africa. At the time Sir Richard Powell was the
Director General of the United Kingdom Institute.
members attended this meeting and from those present 15 were elected to form
the first IoD South Africa committee. It was proposed and seconded that Herbert
Entwhistle be the first Chairman of the South African Institute of Directors
with a Committee of twelve members whose first task was to adopt a
Harley Drayton, a member of the IoD Council in London was present at the Inaugural meeting
and addressed those present. Col H G Henderson was appointed Honorary
main purpose of this development was to debate the increasing responsibilities
and accountabilities of directors as businesses began to grow in size beyond
that of family control. It was also felt
at the time that there was a need for improved contact with the South African
government particularly in view of the worldviews on the Nationalist Party
Inaugural meeting was followed by a lunch at which each member was asked to pay
£2 – 10!
of Mr H F Oppenheimer as first IoD President
of the early decisions of the Committee was to invite Mr H F Oppenheimer to
become the President of the South African Branch of the Institute of Director
which he accepted.
Oppenheimer who was born in Kimberley
in 1908 died in 2000. He was a prominent South African business man and one of
the world’s richest men. He was the chairman of Anglo American Corporation for
a quarter of a century and also chairman of De Beers Consolidated Mines for 27
years before retiring in 1982.
was also the Member of Parliament for Kimberley
from 1948 to 1957 and became the Opposition spokesman on economics, finance and
constitutional affairs. His opposition to apartheid was well known as were his
philanthropy and business acumen.
accepting the position of IoD President Harry Oppenheimer wrote as follows:
is a pleasure for me to write a short message for this new Institute of Directors
brochure which is aimed at potential members.
me in this forward, encapsulate these aims: On the one hand we seek to
represent our Members by bringing the experience of business leaders to bear on
the conduct of public affairs for the common good, and on the other hand we
encourage and endeavour to help our members improve their professional
competence as Directors.
challenges which face South African directors and business management in
general are today greater than ever before: and it is for this reason I
recommend membership of the IoD to all directors for it provides an unrivalled
forum for sharing our views.”
increases over the first decade
membership roll increased steadily from 450 members at the end of 1960 to 1319
by 1970. Several lunches were held each year where prominent speakers spoke on
issues of the day. It then remained fairly static at around 1 400/1 500 until
In 2002 Richard Wilkinson, then Executive
Director of the IoD, said in an article that
"in the early days the IoD was little more
than a cosy, rather incestuous Old Boy’s Club that provided congenial company
for directors and facilitated useful, and hopefully profitable introductions
for its members”.
in 1961 the Honorary Secretary of the IoD Col Henderson became ill and
subsequently died in November of that year.
Chairman Herbert Entwhistle then asked Mr Wilfred E Marsh, who was in practice
as an accountant with the auditing firm Rance-Colly, if he would take over as the
Hon Secretary of the IOD South African branch which he agreed to do and held
office until 1975.
1970 Herbert Entwhistle who had held the office of IoD Chairman with the
confidence of members for 10 years retired and was succeeded by Mr W B Coetzer.
In 1985, it formed a Section 21 company and registered as an Association Not For Gain (Registration No. 1985/002734/08).
Harry F Oppenheimer (1960 – 1986) was followed by Basil E Hersov (1986 – 2001). Hersov remains the Life Honorary Patron of the Institute. Reuel J Khoza, only the third president in 50 years, was elected in 2001.
The IoDSA's first vice-president is Mervyn E. King SC. The remaining vice-presidents are all eminent business professionals elected from the membership.
In 2009 the IoDSA became independent from its London counterpart. Over the years, the Institute has become increasingly autonomous of the IoD in the United Kingdom, but has maintained close links with it and still enjoys a working relationship and reciprocity.