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Managing the Strategic Conversation
Clem Sunter

Clem Sunter - Cape Town and Johannesburg

Clem Sunter

Clem Sunter, born in Suffolk England on the 8th of August 1944, gained his education at Winchester College. Before joining Charter Consolidated as a management trainee in 1966 he went to Oxford where he read politics, philosophy and economics.

He moved to Lusaka in Zambia to work for the Anglo American Corporation Central Africa in 1971. He then transferred to the head office of the Anglo American Corporation of South Africa in Johannesburg after that in 1973. He spent most of his succeeding career in the Gold and Uranium Division in which he served as its chairman and CEO from 1990 to 1996. During this time it was the largest producer of gold in the world. Until recently he was chairman of the Anglo American Chairman’s Fund, which was, as stated in a recent survey, the primary corporate social responsibility fund in South Africa.

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Clem then established a scenario planning function in Anglo with teams in London and Johannesburg in the early 1980s, in which two members were Pierre Wack and Ted Newland, who previously headed up the scenario planning department at Royal Dutch Shell and acted as consultants to Anglo for over a decade following their retirement from Shell. Using material from these teams, Mr Sunter put together a presentation entitled “The World and South Africa in the 1990s” which became very popular in South Africa in the mid-1980s.

In it two scenarios were presented for South Africa; the “High Road” of negotiation, leading to political settlement, and the “Low Road” of confrontation, leading to a civil war and wasteland. South Africa opted for the High Road. Two highlights for Clem included a presentation to FW de Klerk and the Cabinet in 1986 and a visit to the late Nelson Mandela in prison to discuss the future shortly before his release. Mr Sunter has authored 17 books since 1987, some of which have been bestsellers. Other interests of priority to Mr Sunter are his ambitions to mobilize the private sector in the war against HIV/AIDS and to create a new generation of entrepreneurs in South Africa.

Recently, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Cape Town for his work in the field of scenario planning. He was also voted as the speaker who has made the most significant contribution to and impact on best practice and business in South Africa by leading South African CEOs. He has given scenario presentations in several countries, including Europe, India, Singapore, Britain, Australia and various African countries. He also lectured at the Harvard Business School in Boston and at the Central Party School in Beijing.

In 1969 Clem Sunter married Margaret Rowland and they have three children, one daughter and two sons. His hobbies include music and walking.

Clem is South Africa’s most highly regarded scenario planner and strategist. He is an icon and model of mental litheness and has been expertly styled as the Foxy Futurist. He is an executive elite who was responsible for the scenario planning unit of Anglo American in the 1980s and operated as its CEO in the 1990s. He has found a calling in mounting unique and creative solutions to fit circumstances no longer defined in a box. He has given presentations globally and has become an ambassador of expert knowledge for South Africa.

From discussing strategy in the 1980s with our former president, Nelson Mandela, to becoming a renowned author of several best-selling books, and rooted in bringing his new methodology to the people.

Mr Sunter is dually known for his book, The Mind of a Fox, which indicated the terrorist attacks on US soil on September 11, 2001.

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