A giant amongst economists: Cees Bruggemans passes away

Flags are flying at half mast in economic circles as the news of Cees Bruggemans’ death filters through. Bruggemans, the media’s go-to economist for many years, passed away in the early hours of this morning after a battle with cancer.

Cees Bruggemans
Cees Bruggemans

Cees was introduced to the media world in 1983 by the late David Carte, who as Biznews founder Alec Hogg wrote, ‘had the brainwave of introducing him as the economic commentator to the Business Times.’ This was the birth of the ‘Rex’ column, a column Cees served until May 16, with his final piece titled ‘Favourable winds, steady drift’.

Cees was hidden away at Shell at the time, but his writing soon saw First National Bank take him on, where for 28 years he served as its chief economist.

Former FNB CEO Michael Jordaan said on Twitter: “it was a privilege to meet with Cees weekly. A huge intellect has passed. RIP.”

During his career he also served as an economist for Standard Bank and Senbank in Johannesburg, lectured at Wits University, teaching courses in finance and marketing. A graduate of Stellenbosch University, Cees was an Honorary Professor of Economics at the University.

Well known economist Mike Schussler tweeted:

Alec Hogg said earlier that Cees made a massive contribution to SA’s economic debate through a rare ability to see the glass half full, but without losing his rationality. Truer words can’t be spoken.

He leaves behind his wife Heidi.

Please continue to send your tributes. You can tweet, comment below, or via email, and we’ll make sure it’s published.

Mike Albert:

I first heard Cees Bruggemans as a contributor to Classic Business, probably the best part of fifteen years ago. Sad to learn that he is not well and unlikekly to recover. My thoughts are with his loved ones, and we will need to adjust to his not being with us much longer. Best wishes to all his friends and colleagues.

Neville Berkowitz:

Thanks for a great tribute to Cees.He was a tall solid oak tree in a forest of “me too” economists all sheltering in consensus thinking. There is a quote that springs to mind about KPMG et al. They hang horse thieves not for stealing horses but to stop others from doing so.