In a major win for students and faculty, the University of Johannesburg has appointed Dr Randall Carolissen as Dean of the Johannesburg Business School (JBS). A former group executive at the South Africa Revenue Services (SARS) and administrator of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), he will assume his new position on 1 March 2021.

The move comes as the business school that leads in thinking of business differently in the 4th Industrial Revolution seeks to attract learners from South Africa and Africa, with redesigned modules and learning material, and an exciting MBA programme that is offered both in contact and online modes.

“The JBS has reimagined business education offerings and is extending its reach with a fresh and exciting approach,” says Prof Tshilidzi Marwala, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of UJ. “The appointment of Dr Carolissen, who has had an illustrious career outside of academia, is an exciting moment for UJ. His appointment is in line with our goal to provide relevant, practical knowledge and skills for businesses as we confront the 4th Industrial Revolution.”

Dr Carolissen’s key objective is to equip students to grow small- and medium-sized businesses and, by doing so, to create employment and contribute to economic growth, and to meet the challenge of training the country’s best leaders. He also aims to equip them with artificial intelligence capabilities to compete and leverage technological advances effectively in the modern economy, which will enable them to leapfrog current backlogs. “As a recognised global leader in AI, UJ is uniquely positioned to infuse AI into training and development of business leadership that will enhance global competitiveness,” he says. “Furthermore, the societal fissures exposed by the Covid-19 pandemic call for leadership across all sectors to understand the societal context in which policies are shaped and expression given to the overall development of our nation.”

“The Johannesburg Business School has introduced a number of exciting online and contact programmes, as well as an innovative online MBA programme that will prepare people for a technology-driven global business world,” Dr Carolissen adds. “I am delighted to join UJ as the institution is constantly evolving and has a strategic focus on innovation, entrepreneurship and experiential learning that accords with my own passion for overcoming challenges in an unpredictable, ever-changing world.”

Dr Carolissen completed a Master’s in International Tax and headed up the Tax and Customs Institute at SARS, where he was responsible for research, economic modelling and training. He was also until recently the Administrator of NSFAS. He served three terms as the Chair of the Council of the University of the Witwatersrand and was appointed Adjunct Professor at Wits in 2018.

Originally from Cape Town, Dr Carolissen completed a BSc degree at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and started work as an industrial engineer at Firestone in Port Elizabeth, enabling him to support his siblings as they completed their studies. After three years he returned to work at the university to pursue studies on a part-time basis. He established himself as a physicist following the attainment of a PhD (MSc cum laude) in nanophysics. He followed that with an MBA (cum laude) specialising in international finance from the University of Stellenbosch.

AS MD of the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), he corporatised its business arm, effecting a major turnaround in competitiveness and financial sustainability. He also served as a researcher at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), and as a Visiting Fellow at the universities of Pennsylvania and Missouri in the US and the University of Ghent in Belgium.

He has accumulated many prestigious international academic awards and is considered a leading voice on fiscal matters in South Africa. Under his leadership the South African tax regime was able to respond robustly to past global financial crises.