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Nico Jacobs - McDonald's Chief Operating officer & Entrepreneur

Nico Jacobs

Nico oversees McDonald’s SA company owned restaurant chain, their Franchising, Operations, IT and Business Development departments. Over the past 15 years, Nico has worked in leadership roles across different industries, prior to the food service industry he worked in banking and was the Managing Exec for Small Business at Barclays/ABSA.


Ivan was a key member of my team in achieving remarkable things in our business. His ability to navigate through many different types of relationships and conversations in a single day is impressive. He is quite at home working with people right across the business from Sales and Marketing, IT, Call Centres and Operations to Finance and Actuarial. This reflects his deep understanding of business and explains why he is so useful in any Rescue or Turnarounds. He'll add value in any situation in which he finds himself.
It's also pleasing to see Nafeesa, Noluthando and Jessica, all of whom I met and worked with years ago, continuing their powerful collaboration.

Coenraad de Jager - Executive GM of Commercial, Personal & Distribution at Mutual & Federal

Coenraad de Jager

Coenraad manages a portfolio in excess of R10 Billion. Prior to M&F he was the Head Consultant on short-term insurance at Towers Watson. He has held other senior roles at Sanlam Individual Life, Volkskas Pension Services, Absa Insurance Company. Coenraad is a mathematician.


Ivan is someone who knows how to apply his mind and to think independently, but what struck me when he took over the failing scheme was the amount of time he invested in people, all of whom grew a tremendous amount with him. His adaptability in being able to do the pricing on an insurance portfolio and then in the same day support managers when having difficult conversations with our business partners was testament to his commitment to our business, which he had a big impact upon. 5 years of loses were turned around within 9 months.

Prof Gerhard Coetzee - Financial Sector Specialist at CGAP- Washington, DC

Gerhard Coetzee

Before joining CGAP at the World Bank, he was the Head of Inclusive Banking Strategic Initiatives at Absa, Founder and Director of the Centre for Inclusive Banking in Africa and Extraordinary Professor in Agricultural Economics (responsible for Agricultural and Rural Finance) at the University of Pretoria.


As an academic I appreciate people who can both understand detail in a refined and subtle sense, as well as roll up their sleeves and get things done, showing commitment and perseverance. Although Ivan and Noluthando, can be tough, they are always fair and set very high standards for themselves, always leading by example. These are the qualities that any struggling business, especially those in financial distress badly need. A reflection on the quality of their work is the fact that we won a prestigious award for innovation for the part of the work we delivered together.

LeRoy Munetsi - Managing Director of Standard Trust Limited

Leroy Munetsi

Leroy has held a number of executive level positions including Executive Head for Business Insurance at Telesure (a leading direct short term and life insurer), Executive for Africa & New Markets at Mutual & Federal (a leading traditional short term insurer), and Chief Operating Officer of Absa Life (a leading bancassurer).


I remember quite clearly just how alternative and different Ivan's thinking can be, and his mantra of "Noble Purpose" reflects this. He always insisted that as insurers, what we did was not pay claims, but save jobs at our client's companies and in so doing make a powerful contribution to our communities and the country, something to be proud of. Senior staff, not far from retirement, admitted to never seeing their job in such a light. In my opinion, being able to connect the heart to the hands to the mind is what counts, and is often lacking in businesses attempting to transform themselves.

Peter Todd - CEO and Entrepreneur

Peter Todd

Director and Past President of the Insurance Institute of South Africa, former CEO of various global insurance brands and now founder of the industry innovative and game-changing - Repair Solutions


Ivan’s hands on approach, lack of political agendas and passion for understanding facts and figures gives him an uncanny ability to cut through the malaise of noise that often cloud the real issues in a business. Problems can’t be solved until you know what the real issues are in your business! I suppose this is why I have had many hours of insightful and original thinking with Ivan on how Insurance should change, based on his most simple view, "How do I want insurance to work for me?" His unconventional thinking generates very conventional bottom-line value.

Philip Bowkley - Global Head of Non-Bank Financial Institutions (NBFI) at Barclays - London

Philip Bowkley

Philip has global accountability for Corporate Banking client coverage of insurance, specialty finance, funds, asset managers and FinTech companies.


I would work with Ivan and his team again, without hesitation. I know I'd have the commitment to my business that it would need. This would be an extremely capable addition that would only make my business stronger. I can safely say that you will not find better anywhere in the world, when you consider ability, attitude, values, education and experience. Any financially distressed firm would do well to have Ivan fighting in their corner.

We think we have a lot to offer? But You be the Judge!

Frankly, we think you should only make a decision after you have met us and spent time working through what it is that you need or wish to achieve, and you have some comfort in a well considered and appropriate plan, with some substance attached to it. This is at no cost to you, except for your time, and preferably should take place on-site (i.e. at your premises, after hours if necessary). Alternatively we can use either Bryanston or Woodmead for this if you wish.

We place little value in the typical confirmations clients seek as we believe that spin packaged in the form of "what other clients say", or "past successes" is mostly manipulation and distortion and parsimonious with the truth, whilst educational qualifications, especially MBAs and certifications, with meager experience, near worthless. This is despite the fact that we ourselves have MBAs and qualifications from Global top 5 Grad Schools, and evidence of quantifiable and audited turnaround, remediation or expansions totaling in the millions. 

Follow this link to Ivan Uttley's credentials,  education and references. and career summary. The others will make theirs available to you on request.

We appeal to you for your sake! Cut through the spin, and invest time in selecting your coach or rescue practitioner with rigor and attention to detail.

Questions to help you make the right choices.

When you seek out a coach or rescue practitioner as you navigate the business issues and challenges you face, we'd advise you to use the following criteria to help guide your choice. Then see how we stack up.

  • Do they have some kind of structured approach they will adopt that is flexible enough to allow you to deal quickly with the particular issues your business faces?
  • Instead of just a training certification waved in your face, can they convince you that they have used the tool or methodology they are proposing in other similar situations and successfully?
  • When they work through prior examples, do they use general statements or are they able to get into the detail and propose alternatives that might be required?
  • Are they able to "sell" you the reasons why; you should adopt or consider something they propose (by sharing the logic supporting it) or do they just "tell" you?
  • Can they show you evidence in their tools and methodologies of any original thinking they can claim as their own? What in their content would you NOT find anywhere else? For example, we will provide you with our own experiences and material on various specialist areas which are well beyond the scope and ability of other coaching teams, such as Business Process Re-engineering, LEAN, Gamifying your business.
  • Are they able to engage with you, in a manner and style that stimulates your own thinking, but also exposes you to alternatives that you can discuss in depth?
  • Are they able, and in the habit of, not undermining you or any of your team particularly in front of the business? Do they know how to authentically promote you and your team?
  • Will they be able to devote the necessary time to you and your business when the situation demands it? Are they available at unscheduled times?
  • Do they provide you with quality feedback on both "soft" behaviors and habits (listening skills or dealing with non-delivery), as well as "hard" technical (your 1-pager strategy plan or SFG constraint analysis) aspects of your business dealings?
  • Is knowledge transfer an absolute priority and do they allow you to learn by making safe mistakes?
  • Do they appreciate and demonstrate to you that hard technical skills and competencies are much more powerful when combined with considered behaviors, new habits and an obvious and predictable business rhythm?
  • Is every technical discussion concluded with meaningful discussions on what leadership behaviors are required and what habits should be adopted to insure adoption by the rest of the business?
  • Do their own behaviors reflect the habits they encourage you to adopt? They are willing to make proper commitments, they deliver on these commitments, they demonstrate energy and enthusiasm. They are authentic and trustworthy.
  • Do you think they have stood in your shoes? Have they been responsible for implementing turnarounds or specific strategic objectives, and does an Income Statement somewhere show their success?

We more than meet ALL these criteria, but you should not take our word for it. Meet us, let's work through whatever is of concern to you, see how we work and think. Test how we would tackle the problem with you. Use the contact tab to let us know how to contact you, you'll be glad you did!