Latest News Archive

Please select Category, Year, and then Month to display items
Previous Archive
30 July 2020 | Story Leonie Bolleurs | Photo Supplied
Henning Neethling, the newly appointed CFO of Sky News Australia.

After a number of finance jobs in both big and small companies, UFS alumnus Henning Neethling was ready for a new challenge when the opportunity to join one of Australia’s most influential companies came knocking on his door. 

Neethling, who completed his bachelor’s and honours degrees in Accounting at the UFS between 2000 and 2004, together with a Certificate in the Theory of Accounting (CTA), was strongly attracted to the position at Sky News Australia when he was presented the opportunity.  

“The Department of Economic and Management Sciences, especially the amazing lecturers I had during my time there, as well as my fellow students, played a pivotal role in my education and prepared me for this job. As a kid you take things for granted, but the more my career progresses, the more I realise how much effort, investment, and influence these lecturers had on me as a student.”

Neethling also believes that the university inadvertently provides its graduates with an insight into real life; what it would be like to take responsibility for your career, drive your own results through hard work and determination, and to really get tested on how much you wanted something.

Strong relationships

Working at Sky News Australia, especially in the role of Chief Financial Officer (CFO), requires some distinguishing qualities. Neethling feels it is important to always build strong relationships at all levels – not only with staff reporting to you, but also with peers, stakeholders, related parties, suppliers, superiors, etc. 

“For me, relationships lay the foundation for getting things done – more often than not – better and faster due to the collaboration that flows from it,” he says. 

And the UFS also contributed to this skill. Neethling says he learned a great deal during his time at the university, “not only in the classroom, but also on the rugby field playing for Shimlas”. 

“It combined to make me a more rounded person. It is essential, specifically when you are in a leadership position, to have been part of a team and to really understand that dynamic. In the workplace, it is very clear that the more rounded individuals are often people who played team sports or were part of a team. This is where you learn that your actions impact others around you and that you should be ready to be held accountable for it.”

Another quality required of him as CFO is to have a flexible mindset. “Being able to adapt to an ever-changing landscape is key. The only constant is change, and no truer words can be spoken about the media landscape in this day and age. So, to survive – but more importantly – to thrive, you need to adjust to the circumstances and do it swiftly,” he says.

Dealing with COVID-19

If there ever was a time to adjust to circumstances, we can all agree that it is now, with the presence of the COVID-19 pandemic. He says to date, it has been one of the biggest challenges he had to deal with.

“In my first month in this role as CFO of Sky News, COVID-19 really took off on a global scale. It was a combination of numerous reforecast submissions, business interruptions, revaluation of risks, improvement of processes, and uncertainty. But it all came back to strong relationships with the team, the business, and all other stakeholders getting you through something like this.” 

He believes the UFS is on the right track with its mental-health awareness campaigns. “I think the most important lesson an institution such as the university can teach its students and graduates in dealing with the challenges brought by COVID-19, is how we treat people with mental-health issues and also how we manage ourselves when it comes to that.”

And how do one take care of yourself if you are in an ever-changing, fast-paced job as CFO? By starting the day with that first cup of coffee. “I cannot function without that coffee, trust me.” And by making time for loved ones – his six-month-old baby, Maia, and his wife, Madi.

News Archive

We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.