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03 May 2021 | Story Dr Nitha Ramnath
Frikkie Meintjes

University of the Free State alumni have an impact on a diverse range of fields, locally and internationally. They are sought after in private and public companies, leading and working in some of the top companies and organisations. One such individual is Frikkie Meintjes, Head of Global HR at Greenpeace International. 

Reconnecting alumni with the UFS and their university experience, François van Schalkwyk and Keenan Carelse, UFS alumni leading the university’s United Kingdom Alumni Chapter, have put their voices together to produce and direct a podcast series, Voices from the Free State. The podcasts are authentic conversations – providing an opportunity for the university to understand and learn about the experiences of its alumni and to celebrate the diversity and touchpoints that unite them. As part of the series, featured alumni such as Frikkie Meintjes share and reflect on their experiences at the UFS, how it has shaped their lives, and relate why their ongoing association with the UFS is still relevant and important.

Listen to Frikkie Meintjes talk about his UFS experience and connection here: 

About Frikkie Meintjes

Frikkie Meintjes is a senior management professional with extensive experience in strategic and operational leadership and people management, gained over twenty years in complex international organisations. His senior management experience includes being a member of the senior management team of Greenpeace Africa and being appointed Acting Executive Director in 2015/2016 for a period of 11 months during a leadership transition phase.
He is an experienced leader who effectively leads multicultural teams to achieve organisational goals. Frikkie’s notable achievements include harnessing a new team across four offices on the African continent, implementing a new job evaluation and grading system (Hay Group) through collaborative team efforts and a related salary structure for four offices across Africa, establishing a staff representative forum (similar to the Dutch Ondernemingsraad), and ensuring unqualified external audited annual financial statements (after a period of successive failed audits).

Leading teams from around the world

Frikkie is currently the Head of Global HR and manages a team of six HR professionals. His key deliverables include implementing the Global People Strategy and handling HR people or systems-oriented critical incidents at any of the 27 regional and national offices. The position also strengthens the global HR community and uses data to improve the overall organisational effectiveness of HR across the global organisation. In addition, he is responsible for ensuring the alignment of HR strategies and its implementation across the global organisation and provides support and expertise to senior leadership and HR professionals.

Frikkie has also worked as an international development manager in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, where his role ensured the continual growth and development of particular Greenpeace-affiliated national and regional organisations though the provision of strategic support and advice to the organisation’s leadership and by optimising synergies between organisations across the Greenpeace federation in the process of upholding the integrity of the Greenpeace global organisation and movement. The development of the executive director included regular coaching and mentoring. He represented the International Executive Director during local board meetings. Organisations assigned to him included Japan, East Asia (with offices in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Korea), and Southeast Asia (with presences in the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia).

Prior to that, he served as the Operations Manager: Office of the Executive Director at Greenpeace International. He was an observer, mentor, and coach on the Future Leadership Programme held in May 2017 in Vienna, Austria, and provided advice to fifteen emerging talents. He was also a member of the Performance, Accountability and Learning (PAL) Steering Committee, advising the global organisation on monitoring and evaluation strategies, policies, and best practices.

Frikkie Meintjies has also worked for World Vision as a support services director, and for Phumani Paper in Johannesburg as an executive director.

The UFS – where it started

He completed his studies at the University of the Free State in the field of Commerce (1990-1996). During his studies, he had been involved in various activities and societies, which included being recognised as Best Residence Committee Member for Cultural Affairs; recognised as the Best Student Association, recognised for the best community engagement programme of a student association; member of the Residence Committee: Cultural Affairs and Liaison, and Chairperson of the Association of Management Sciences. 

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