Prof Willem Jacobs


Prof Willem Jacobs was previously the Chief Operating Officer for Central and East Africa for Barrick Gold. He holds a BPL (Hons) (UFS), M. Comm. (RAU), DCom Economics (Mineral Economics) (UNISA), and undertook research, study and course work towards his Masters and Doctoral studies at Duke University and the Wharton Business School in the USA respectively. He further completed specialist courses at Wharton Business School in the areas of mergers and acquisitions as well as corporate strategy.

Prof Jacobs has over 30 years’ experience in the engineering, mining and the investment sectors in Southern, Central and Eastern Africa, including 25 years in executive management and board-level positions of both private and public companies.

Willem is seen as a mergers and acquisition specialist and is particularly experienced in investor relations. He has worked extensively in Africa and globally, particularly in complex multi-cultural environments.  As such he has an excellent working knowledge of people, systems, and legal frameworks. He has started and managed operations in exceedingly challenging operating conditions, including Brazil, China, India, the DRC, and Russia.

His experience includes a proven track record in corporate turnarounds, mergers and acquisitions, and post-acquisition alignment and optimizations of combined business entities.

Willem started his career in 1984 as Principal Consultant with Price Waterhouse, managing the Strategy Consulting practice. He has served on the Boards and Executive Committees of major companies including Price Waterhouse, Cullinan Holdings Ltd, ABB, IMERYS, TEAL Mining and Exploration and Randgold Resources. Willem joined Randgold Resources Limited as Chief Operating Officer, after assisting them to acquire one of the major gold resources in the world and construct arguably the largest gold mine in Africa, at Kibali in the DRC.

Prof Jacobs has an exceptionally wide range of interests and reads widely especially in the field of history.  His son is an LLB graduate of the Faculty of Law at UP (which he followed with an LLM in International Business Law and the Extractive Industries at Dundee).

Contribution to UP

He has taken a strong and long-term interest in supporting the development of a multi-discipline master’s programme in extractive industries in Africa based in the Faculty of Law, and has provided extensive conceptual and technical assistance to the Faculty in establishing this programme.  He has also used his wide-range of contacts to raise funds for the programme.  Since 2015, he has raised US$ 250,000 — equating to over R3,363,225 million. In addition to assisting with the conceptual development of the programme, Prof Jacobs has played a key role in developing the syllabus.

- Author Department of Public Law

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