Nationality: South African
Year of birth: 1956
Dr Van Zyl has been a member of the Board of directors since 2016. He qualifies as a non-executive director and is the Chairman of the Board of directors and a member of the Sanlam Human Resources and Remuneration committee as well as the Nominations committee. He is an expert in insurance, financial markets, investments, general business, human resources, marketing and international business.
He originally trained as an agricultural economist and holds two doctorates – a PhD in Economics (Vista) and a DSc in Agriculture (Pretoria). After having worked for the South African Government and NAMPO as an economist, he taught agricultural economics at the University of Pretoria from 1983 to 1994, during which time he was appointed as the Dean of Natural and Agricultural Sciences. He subsequently spent two years at the World Bank as coordinator of Rural Development.
In 1996, he became Vice-chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria.
Dr Van Zyl’s major external positions, directorships and associations include African Rainbow Capital (ARC), Ubuntu-Botho Investments, Steinhoff International and WWF-SA, and he serves as a Council member of the University of Pretoria and as Chairman of the Vumelana Advisory Fund.
Dr Van Zyl has a keen interest in economic development and has published widely on a variety of topics related to, in particular, rural development and agriculture in South Africa, the broader Southern African region, Eastern Europe and South America. He is the author of more than three hundred journal articles and several books.