Nashua CEO Mark Taylor is one of South Africa’s best CEOs, which is not surprising if you consider his path to the top and the experience which he gained along this journey.
Taylor started his career 37 years ago, loading paper in printers at Nedbank, for which he was paid R533 per month.
He advanced his career by becoming a computer operator at the bank and was then given the chance to become a programmer.
One of his big breaks came when he was given a large project to manage. While it was beyond his capability at the time, he quickly increased his skill set and made a success of the project.
After a number of mergers in the industry, he was appointed operations and IT director of Nashua Mobile in 1999.
He continued to rise in the company and, after serving in the dual role of CIO and COO, he was ultimately promoted to CEO of Nashua Mobile in 2003.
He left Nashua Mobile for a top position at Vodacom, but returned four years later and now serves as executive director at Reunert and CEO of Nashua.
Rising to the top
Taylor told MyBroadband that he was fortunate to have had many great mentors and coaches who gave him excellent opportunities to grow in his career.
While Taylor has respect for mentorship programmes, his approach is slightly different from the traditional mentorship model.
“When you have a connection with someone and respect them and in return, they believe in your capabilities. You can then both learn a lot from each other,” he explained.
He added that to get a big break or make it in the corporate world you must be focused, diligent, and hard-working.
Taylor said the best part of running a company is investing time and money in people that want to grow and to see them develop their careers.
Another aspect he loves is to see how good business decisions grow a company and help it to reach its full potential.
It is, however, not always sunshine and roses. He said selling off a company and closing it down after investing many years of hard work into it, as he did with Nashua Mobile, is very tough.
“This was very sad and emotional for me and it took a long time to try to get over it. In fact, I am not sure one ever does,” he said.
Nashua CEO Mark Taylor’s tech and business choices
Nashua CEO Mark Taylor shared his tech and business choices with MyBroadband.
Which smartphone do you use?
Which laptop do you use?
HP X360 Convertible. These laptops are perfect for people on the fly – it transforms from a laptop to a tablet, has a touch screen with the ability to sign documents on the glass screen, and a built-in power bank.
What is the best gadget you have ever bought?
The Garmen watch. It is great for any sport and I am a dedicated cycler. It can even do fascinating things like track your sleep patterns and report on how badly I slept.
What is the worst gadget that you ever bought?
The first wireless SMS-enabled alarm. I could never figure out how to switch it off.
What internet connection do you use at home?
What is the best investment you have ever made?
Buying a few Portchie paintings in 2004 for about R5,000 each and then selling them in 2018 for a whopping profit of over R50,000 each.
What is the worst investment you have ever made?
Moving my pension fund from Nedbank to another fund which I cannot care to mention. The same would apply to some items I got at auction due to the euphoria of bidding when I should not have.
What is the best business book you have ever read?
Inside Coca-Cola by Neville Isdell. It tells the story of how a young guy born in Botswana rises from a local employee at a small dealer and loves the brand so much that he becomes the CEO and Chairman of Coca-Cola Worldwide.