Mike had a long association with SAIIA both as a staff member and in SAIIA’s governance bodies. After a stint at Chatham House from 1978 to 1981, he became the Deputy Director of SAIIA from 1981 to 1984, serving under John Barratt, SAIIA’s director-general at the time.
He moved on to Anglo American where he rose from special assistant to then CE Gavin Relly to Executive Director, Executive Vice President and finally Chairman of Anglo American, South Africa. From 2006 to 2012 he was the Founding CEO of Business Leadership South Africa.
However, Mike continued his association with SAIIA after he moved to the private sector. He served on SAIIA’s National Council for some three decades and was a member until his untimely passing. After he moved to Cape Town, he became involved with the Western Cape branch and had been elected chairman at its most recent elections.
He truly came for an extraordinary generation of South African leaders whose contribution to South Africa’s transition to democracy was inestimable and who continued to work after the transition through the various institutions he led, on the country’s economic challenges of growth, inclusivity and prosperity. But his contributions also stretched to the region. He was a member of the Presidential International Advisory Board of Mozambique, a body which he later chaired. He had a great eye for identifying potential in young people, and we benefitted on a number of occasions from his recommendations.
SAIIA National Chair Moeletsi Mbeki said: ‘The passing of Michael Spicer is a great loss to South Africa’s business community. I worked with him and the late Leslie Boyd [former deputy chairman of Anglo American South Africa] in establishing the Japan South Africa Business Forum which in its heyday with him as head of Business Leadership SA built warm relations between the two countries. Spicer was an invaluable asset to SAIIA.’
Mike was an incisive analyst of political and economic events in South Africa and the world, a strategic thinker who added richness to all our conversations at SAIIA, a man of integrity, a model for us all of service to the country and the region, a man taken too soon.
‘What a great tragedy and sad loss for us at SAIIA specifically, but also for the business fraternity and the country at large. Mike was such a likeable and warm-hearted character whose humility never gave anything away about the true extent of his many great contributions,’ said fellow SAIIA National Council member Isaac Nkama.
SAIIA sends its deepest condolences to Mike’s wife Ireen and their sons Simon and Nicholas and their families.
– Elizabeth Sidiropoulos, SAIIA Chief Executive