2020-03 Edition | Executive Insights
September 28, 2020
May 29, 2021

BKCOB | Meet the Office Bearers – “Building a Responsive and Resilient Chamber.”

Dr. Ettmayr is an Economist by profession with a strong background in research, business development, renewable energy, info-rmation and communication technology (ICT) and investment promotion. His work history has varied between public and private institutions such as; the State Security Agency (previously the National Intelligence Agency), the East London Industrial Development Zone (ELIDZ) and Geonomics, a private company engaged in economic consultancy and research. He has developed a good network of public and private sector players that assists in accessing information to help decisionmakers plan strategically and effectively. He holds a well-rounded understanding of government initiatives, policies and legislation, across a number of different sectors. Through the ELIDZ, Dr. Ettmayr has worked in the fields of; the automotive industry, pharmaceutical sector, agro-processing, aquaculture, BPO & O, ICT and electronics and renewable and alternative energy sources. He has been extensively focused on trade and investment promotion as well as business development within the ELIDZ, specifically in energy and energy storage systems. Of late, focus has shifted towards the ICT sector where a move to creating an Industry 4.0 enabled industrial park has become critical to avoid technological disruptors. Groundbreaking work in cluster development is also bringing in new opportunities, particularly for localization of certain goods and the development of the SMME space. Public speaking platforms has allowed Dr. Ettmayr to share industry insight into future trends that are being picked up across various sectors. The need to develop new and innovative businesses has become a passion that makes each day of work an exciting challenge. Engagement in various business networks via Rotary or as the President of the Border-Kei Chamber of Business (BKCOB) also allows Dr. Ettmayr to keep close to business related matters and needs.


Kreason is the Director and Principal Urban & Regional Planner at Tshani Consulting CC.The company has offices in East London and Durban but works throughout South Africa and East Africa. Tshani Consulting offers professional services in gaining legislative approvals for Shopping Centres, Residential, Office and Industrial Estates, as well as planning for and developing Spatial proposals and graphical representations of areas from a Local through to Provincial space. The company also specialises in Local Economic Development and Tourism Consulting and Project Implementation. Kreason specialises in Spatial Planning, Revitalisation Projects, Settlement Planning as well as Project Management and Facilitating group Workshops (Strategic Planning).


Lauren Brady was born and raised in East London, where she matriculated from Hudson Park High School in 2004. Lauren is a qualified Chartered Accountant and is the Financial Manager of St Bernard’s Hospice, a non-profit organization which assists with providing palliative care within the Buffalo City Community. Lauren is also a part time consultant within the assurance division of an audit firm. Lauren has been an executive member of the Border Kei Chamber of Business since 2016 and is currently the chair of the Operations Committee and the second-vice president of the BKCOB. Lauren is looking forward to what the future holds for Chamber and our team.


John Cupido was born in Lichtenburg in the North-West Province. He grew up in East London, where he Matriculated from Selborne College, in 1994. John Studied Medicine at The University of Florida in the USA, but returned to SA when a family medical happening affected the running of the family business. He then switched to B.Comm (Law). Between 2003 and 2006, he was an executive member of the BKCOB, and returned in 2015, until the present. Between 2003 and 2009 John lead a political life which saw him elected as a member of Parliament in the Eastern Cape Legislature. John now has several business interests which include an IT company, a Consultancy, and the Cupidolls Perfumes (family business) that manufactures and retails fine fragrances in SA. With his departure from Politics, John has been re-elected onto the BKCOB executive and was subsequently elected as 1st Vice President in 2016 and President between 2018 and 2020.


Gary is a Chartered Accountant and partner at leading accounting and auditing firm, Charteris and Barnes. The firm has offices throughout the Eastern Cape. Gary maintains a portfolio of niche clientele offering support services such as tax structuring, accounting, internal and external auditing. Gary has a particular interest in business valuations and the facilitation of corporate restructuring. He studied Bachelor of Accounting, Rhodes University – Grahamstown. After graduating from Rhodes University in 2001, he completed his articles in Charteris & Barnes’s East London branch, qualifying as a Chartered Accountant at the end of 2004. Subsequently he worked as a financial controller for Deutsche Bank in Liverpool Street, London and more recently for the Royal Bank of Scotland. Gary is the youngest partner at Charteris & Barnes. Gary’s main focus is private sector accounting, auditing and consulting. When he is not in the office, you’ll find him travelling or playing hockey, cricket and golf.


With 28-years’ service with the Border-Kei Chamber of Business, Les Holbrook is one of the longest serving Chamber Executive Directors in SA, demonstrating that an Industry calling exists deep in the person. Les started with Chamber after a 10 year stint managing a large Footwear manufacturer – in Butterworth, Transkei. Being given a leadership role in the Chamber, Les embraces this every day. The opportunity to support, promote and protect members rests heavily and is very much a case that “every day,” is unique and challenging. With numerous achievements including a Special Award by the Premier for recognition for “contribution to the Economy of Eastern Cape,” Les seldom gives up. Driven by many characteristics, one of Les’s life time goals is when retiring, he can say he made a difference. The most satisfying and still rewarding is bringing Low-Cost airlines to East London. In 2002, Nationwide arrived in the City, proving that competition is the only way to break a monopoly. Today, the Metro is only served by Low-cost Carriers – with East London the ONLY airport / terminal showing growth. Les by Trade is a Master Artisan with an Engineering Certificate. He has completed a number of short courses including a diploma in Management Practice. He completed six years in the Engineering field, 13 years in Manufacturing, before joining the Chamber movement. Driven by a philosophy of serving, Les believes that harnessing the knowledge and experience of hundreds of members is the lifeblood of a business association. Furthermore, collaborating with similar associations and organisations helps overcome limited resources and minimal capacity. He says that he is forever amazed at the generosity of business leaders, who contribute and support projects that demonstrate good governance. He is first and foremost a family man – believing that family comes first, being a Grandfather of 7 helps keep him young.  Les is married to a lady that “has more chutzpa than anyone he has met, knows more about International Trade than Google, AND is as comfortable doing a business presentation as to making Beef Wellington or baking an orange cake.”