Ian Kantor’s surprise book selection says it all. Special man. Always will be.  

Few seemed to notice Friday’s SENS announcement that Ian Kantor would be stepping off the Investec board after 45 years of service. I did. Because, of the hundreds of business leaders who crossed a young financial journalist’s path in the 1980s, none made a bigger impression on me than the electrical engineer who founded Investec.

I got to know him quite well as Ian would occasionally invite me to stroll down Joburg’s mis-named Mooi Street for a sandwich in Investec’s modest premises in the old IGI building. Sometimes he’d send books or articles to help shape a receptive mind. Even in Investec’s formative years there was little doubt something exceptional was being created.

Kantor emigrated to the Netherlands in 1988 to launch another leg to his brilliant career. The first CEO stayed on Investec’s board, however, chairing it until 2002. And as a non executive director until August. Leaving after 45 years is a big deal. Ian was our featured guest on the Rational Radio webinar yesterday. The show ran over by 20 minutes. Nobody complained.

Much of what he shared was memorable. Nothing more so than the book he’d recommend to a young person starting on a career in business. “Siddhartha,” came the answer, referring to Hermann Hesse’s 1922 classic, “the story of Buddha. Tells you to get your ego out the way. Life’s a flowing river, you’re just part of that river.” Always was special. Always will be.

*Don’t forget Biznews colleague Linda van Tilburg’s Midweek Catchup webinar. This week the topic is state capture and justice with veteran political commentator Max du Preez and legal expert Pierre de Vos. It’s free for all, you just need to register beforehand: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2632221349207190800.

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