Mike Upton

1st July 2011 By: Mary-Anne O’Donnell

Full Name: Michael Robert Upton

Position: CEO of Group Five

Main Activity of the Company: Construction

Date and Place of Birth: November 1954, Zimbabwe

Education: BSc (electrical engineering); FSAIEE

First Job: Contract engineer at the NEI group

Career History Prior to Current Position: I joined Group Five in 2002 and was appointed to the board and as CEO in 2007. I spent nine years at Group Five in multidisciplinary construction and engineering. Before that, I was with the NEI group as MD and executive committee member responsible for all aspects of the company’s performance and selected strategic/tactical tasks for the NEI group. Prior to that, I was with Rolls Royce and ABB, where I gained over 20 years’ experience in manufacturing, engineering, commercial marketing and international construction and services

Size of First Pay Packet: R800 a month

First Job with Present Group: MD of Group Five Projects

Value of Assets under Your Control: Group Five is a R12-billion turnover company with a market capitalisation of R4-billion

Number of People under Your Leadership: 11 500

Management Style: Participative, entrepreneurial, performance driven

Personal Best Achievement: Giving up smoking and keeping fit

Professional Best Achievement: Strategically repositioning Group Five as an integrated engineering, construction and concessions group

Person Who Has Had the Biggest Influence on Your Life: My Wife and my family

Person Who Has Had the Biggest Influence on Your Career: John Kempster, former ABB CEO

Person You Would Most Like to Meet: Yet to be identified

Businessperson Who Has Impressed You Most: South African business leaders who have globalised their operations

Philosophy of Life: I am goal driven, I work hard, empower others and strive for the illusive balance between work, family, exercise and leisure

Biggest Ever Opportunity: My current position

Biggest Ever Disappointment: Missing an acquisition

Hope for the Future: A South Africa that is free of crime and corruption, and has achieved its potential as a high-growth economy leading the African renewal

Favourite Reading: Business and political, and espionage novels

Favourite TV Programme: Sport, news and the Discovery channel

Favourite Food/ Drink: Italian, Portuguese/red wine

Favourite Music: Varied

Favourite Sport: Going to the gym, scuba diving

Favourite Website: None

Hobbies: Underwater photography, travel and the bush

Car: BMW 535 Gran Turismo

Pets: None

Miscellaneous Dislikes: Dishonesty and posturing

Favourite Other South African Company: SAB Miller

Favourite Foreign Company: General Electric

Married: Yes

Children: Two daughters

Clubs: Virgin Active, Scuba Club