Chief Financial Officer and Executive Director at Fulcrum Group (Pty) Ltd

Ellen Gower-Mzolo is an experienced CFO and a CA(SA). She was the first female CFO and one of the youngest directors in the history of the Fulcrum Group.

She describes herself as resilient and relentless in pursuing her goals. She loves being a leader and is passionate about helping people realise their potential. ‘I’ve always wanted the ability to drive company culture, strategy, and staff performance – having been deputy head girl in both primary and high school, vice-chairperson of my residence at Wits University and an Allan Gray Orbis Foundation fellow, my passion for leadership was evident. I’m also certain that the humble work experiences I had during school holidays, including waitressing, bookkeeping and vac work, all contributed to my development as a leader.’

During her tenure as CFO at the Fulcrum Group over the past four years, Ellen has played a pivotal role in the growth and profitability of the Fulcrum Collect and Fulcrum Premium Finance businesses, where they’ve become South Africa’s largest short-term insurance providers of outsourced premium collections and independent insurance premium financing. They assist insurers and brokers across South Africa in processing insurance debit orders for policyholders and financing annual insurance premiums.

Fulcrum Collect facilitated R22 billion in short-term insurance premium collections during the last financial year, with the business achieving a record-high revenue and operational profit. Fulcrum Premium Finance financed R1,1 billion in insurance premiums, which is its highest in five years. Ellen’s hands-on approach and collaborative leadership style have optimised financial reporting processes, improved financial planning, and implemented robust risk evaluations, while helping to drive operational excellence. Ellen is also currently collaborating on the development of a revolutionary premium collections platform.

Ellen co-manages the people development (HR) function with the CEO, Steven Schnell, fostering a collaborative, high-performance, and strategically mature company culture. The company’s staff retention rate has consistently exceeded 95%. Her commitment to people development can be seen in the promotion of her previous group financial manager and mentee, Sachin Govender CA(SA), to the position of managing director of Premium Finance.

Ellen’s influence extends to social responsibility, as she played a pivotal role in improving Fulcrum Collect’s B-BBEE rating from non-complaint to a Level 7 rating whilst advancing employment equity and procurement policies. The goal is for the group to attain a Level 4 B-BBEE rating in the upcoming 24 months. Her work has also led to the establishment of an employment equity and transformation committee driving Fulcrum’s transformation journey.

In addition, Ellen is a trustee of the 4C Charitable Trust which supports the development of untapped talent in disadvantaged communities through charitable donations and scholarships.