François consults to boards, top management and leaders internationally on issues, communication and strategy. He has served clients in the USA, Africa, India, Europe and the Middle East. His specialties are crisis management, community creation, communication strategy, public affairs, corporate reputation risk assessment and management, and market entry strategies. He consults to governments, international institutions and companies. He has worked in a range of sectors including health, financial services, ICT, agriculture, mining, consumer, energy, development and education. He has a special interest in developing countries and institutions.
François is a Board member of the Child Witness Foundation. He also serves on the Board of the Presidential Precinct and is an advisor to its Young Africa Leaders Initiative (YALI) program.
As a political and election advisor since 1988, he has managed election campaigns for President Chiluba of Zambia, for President Chissano in Mozambique and advised on election campaigns in various other African countries.
François is an American citizen who was born in South Africa, grew up on a farm in its Northwest province, started his career on the gold mines, attained a degree in international politics and political science at the University of Pretoria and served as a commissioned officer in the SA Air Force. He founded his own business in 1987, following various corporate management positions at Gold Fields of SA, Small Business Development Corporation and Sappi, the South African multi-national forestry products company. He is emeritus Chairman of Africa, of Daniel J Edelman Inc and emeritus Board member of The Montpelier Foundation, where he served a term as Treasurer and Finance Committee Chairman.
- High level mentoring and advice in all aspects of strategic communications
- Extensive knowledge of African politics and business and depth understanding of South African national politics and public sector organisations
- Access to international networks of communications professionals, researchers and academics
- Co Chairman at Baird’s CMC
- Chairman, Africa at Edelman
- Founder and Chairman at Baird’s US
- Board Member at Reputation Centre, University of Pretoria
- Introducing new products for Motorola into the South African Market
- Advocacy work for the Global Fund TB Education Foundation – Work that resulted in South African declaring a state of emergency on TB
- Managing Unilever’s corporate reputation and assisting in setting up the Unilever Foundation in South Africa
- Developing a brand strategy for the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative
- Managing the Rugby World Cup campaign in 1995
Motorola, Global Fund TB Education Foundation, Unilever, South Africa Government, ESKOM