Willie Pienaar, Group CE
Although Willie has extensive experience in the formal legal sphere, he considers himself a ‘reformed lawyer’. While working as an advocate at the Cape Bar, Willie witnessed first hand the shortcomings of traditional legal practice. Driven by his desire to transform legal services, as well as his entrepreneurial spirit, Willie was a founding member of the Equillore Group, which specialises in dispute settlement through the use of ADR. During his time there he held both the CEO and deputy Chair roles.
A practicing mediator and arbitrator, Willie worked closely with the insurance cluster to pioneer a new way of settling inter-insurer disputes which has seen significant gains in both efficiency and efficacy for the organisations.
Willie is passionate about the use of IT as an enabler and sees his role in NuvaLaw as an opportunity to put his experience in ADR, his love of innovation, and a desire for access to justice to good use – for both companies and the consumer.
Product Development Director
Hendrik Kotze, Product Development Director
You will be hard pressed to find anyone who understands the process and design of dispute systems better than Hendrik. He designed, implemented, and managed numerous dispute systems, including the settlement project for the South African state supported motor vehicle insurance fund. This project offered a structured negotiation and arbitration process which successfully handled more than 35 000 cases.
Hendrik has more than 20 years’ experience of working on dispute systems design projects in National and Regional Governments (including SADC), and in listed Corporations. He currently advises chambers of commerce in a number of African countries to help them build ADR capacity and structures through which dispute settlement can be facilitated. This work has also seen him collaborating and consulting closely with international ADR specialists who have partnered on the African initiative.
Hendrik has a Masters in Law from Cambridge University, and he has qualified as a business analyst. He combines these skill-sets, and his extensive experience, in his product development work for Nuvalaw.
Hendrik remains a senior researcher at the University of Stellenbosch Business School where he is responsible for the conflict management and dispute system design curriculum, and teaches on the MBA programme. Hendrik is the current Chair of the SA Dispute Settlement Accreditation Council (the body which regulates ADR practitioners in South Africa).
Maruis Conradie, Strategy Director
Maruis’ ability to devise business strategy with the pragmatic, lateral thinking inherent in his engineering background brings great value to the NuvaLaw team.
Although he obtained a masters degree in electronic engineering, Maruis excelled in strategy, ICT innovation and business development after obtaining his MBA (cum laude) in 2000. As head of strategy and innovation at Vodacom, he invested in a number of start-up companies and successfully commercialised and scaled them up.
He developed business strategy for Vodacom for 14 years, honing his expertise in the ICT field, where he assisted in aligning the various divisions of Vodacom SA to follow a group strategy. He also did the research and the ‘follow the money’ market segmentation, strategy and business plan to establish Vodacom Business, which established their non-mobile ICT company, delivering R850 million in revenue within five years.
More recently, Maruis has been involved in innovating technology for The Green-Co, a B2B environmental services company. He manages a consulting company which aims to ‘Mobilise Enterprises Through Integrated Solutions’ (METIS) in a number of industries. His work at METIS reveals his engineer’s passion in business: to use strategy to strengthen and build links in business.
Zahir Williams, Co-Founder, Commercial
Zahir has had a long and fruitful career in multi-jurisdictional corporate law. Between 2002 and 2008 he led the legal function of global oil giant BP in Sub-Saharan Africa in 11 countries, including South Africa. Thereafter he brought his expertise to French oil and gas multinational, Total, where he also served on the board of directors. Under his legal supervision, Total functioned efficiently in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland. He has also served on the board of directors of Africa’s leading inland crude oil refinery co-owned by Total and SASOL in South Africa.
At the moment Zahir is a senior executive at a leading multinational telecoms group where he heads the legal and regulatory function in the UK and 25 countries on the African continent.
Having been in the corporate sphere for nearly 15 years, Zahir has unequalled insight when it comes to both the legal and business functions in any company. His passion is to improve the efficiency of legal processes in businesses in order to cut legal costs and reduce risk.
Bronwen Kausch, Co-Founder, Communications
Bronwen has more than 20 years’ experience working as a journalist and communications specialist in South Africa. She has covered technology, finance, and economics extensively and has been widely published across a number of IT and business publications.
Bronwen spent four years as the COO of the Cape Chamber of Commerce creating and implementing a new business and digital strategy, as well as taking on the acting CEO role on two occasions. During her time at the Cape Chamber she headed up a Swedish chambers programme to build capacity within African chambers of commerce, with a special focus on ADR and women’s economic empowerment.
She is an associate at PeaceSystems, a registered civil society organisation which supports the development of sustainable systems and institutions to prevent, manage and resolve conflict in developing countries.
Bronwen has a Masters degree in ICT Policy and Regulation from Wits, which allows her to drill down into some of the more complex issues facing ICT development globally, and in Africa in particular.