Port Elizabeth – Empowerment steel pressing company Formex announced today that it has appointed Johan Swart as its new CEO with effect from 1 November 2003. The company also announced that it has appointed Freddie Magugu as a non-executive director.
Formex is a wholly owned subsidiary of empowerment financial services company Mettle, which added Formex to its growing portfolio of industrial assets in July this year. It is a leading supplier of catalytic converter casings and metal component pressings to the local automotive industry. Swart formerly headed up the Port Elizabeth based Engine Plant for the Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa. The plant supplied engines and components to a variety of Ford plants in Europe, South America and Asia.
According to Mettle managing director Gavin O’Connor, Mettle is committed to transforming Formex into the premier metal pressing company in South Africa. Mettle is majority owned by Hosken Consolidated Investments (HCI) which, in turn, is majority owned by the SACTWU Investment Group, the investment vehicle for the South African Clothing and Textile Workers Union. Mettle has one of the largest empowerment shareholdings in the financial services industry and, through Formex, is now one of the few empowerment companies active in the wider motor industry.
O’Connor says that a key reason for appointing Swart as CEO is his extensive automotive and engineering expertise, a key success factor in the management of the Ford engine plant. Our intention is to invigorate Formex first at a management level and then on a staff level to the benefit of the company and all its stakeholders, he said.
Says Swart, “There is a huge opportunity to empower the entire Formex team, and thereby improve productivity and morale, which will have a positive impact on the growth and profitability of the business.”
Freddie Magugu’s appointment as a non-executive director to the Formex board is a further element of this process. Says O’Connor, “Freddie Magugu is well known as a labour champion, and his appointment to the board will hopefully ensure that labour concerns are treated with the respect they deserve at the highest level, and that the company’s empowerment agenda is vigorously pursued.” Magugu is a non-executive director of both Mettle and HCI.
Both Swart and Magugu are enthusiastic about empowerment and upbeat about Formex’s ability to grow its business as a premier supplier to the global automotive industry. “The local automotive industry is on a strong growth path, particularly as an exporter, and Formex is well positioned to benefit from that growth, particularly now that it has embarked on a process of transformation,” Swart said. He explained that Formex’s specialised engineering expertise and production efficiencies enable them to be highly competitive versus international suppliers. “These factors, together with our empowerment credentials position us to benefit from the growth and changing dynamics in the automotive sector.”

Source: Formex – press release