12 inspirational quotes from the late South African tycoon Raymond Ackerman

Raymond Ackerman, an iconic South African business leader, passed away on Wed., Sept. 6, 2023, at 92.


In 1967, Ackerman co-founded Pick ‘n Pay with his wife, Wendy, after acquiring four stores in Cape Town. From the outset, he upheld key principles, including the paramount importance of the customer, the golden rule of treating others as we would wish to be treated, and the belief that doing good is sound business practice.


These principles have steered the enterprise for more than 56 years, and today, the Pick ‘n Pay Group serves millions of customers across South Africa and seven other African nations through its network of over 2,000 stores.


Ackerman’s business philosophy was founded on the concept of the “four legs of the table” (administration, social responsibility and marketing, people, and merchandise, with the customer as the top priority), a concept initially introduced by the late Colombian-born American marketing executive Bernardo Trujillo in the United States.


Throughout his lifetime, Ackerman served as an inspiration with his numerous pearls of wisdom, which remain deeply etched in our memories and continue to resonate.


In tribute to Ackerman, Billionaires.Africa honors his legacy by recalling some of his most enduring quotes, from leadership and entrepreneurship to business ethics and humanity.


  1. On Purpose: “I believe every business has to have a soul. It can’t just be about money.”
  2. On Entrepreneurship: “Being an entrepreneur means having a passion for what you do, and the resilience to push through challenges.”
  3. On Success: “The real measurement of success is not just what you achieve but how you achieve it.”
  4. On Business Ethics: “It’s not just about profits; it’s about ethics, values, and making a real difference in society.”
  5. On Decision Making: “If you can’t make a decision with 80 percent of the information you wish you had, then you’re not an entrepreneur.”
  6. On Community: “Business should not be separate from community. We have a responsibility to give back and to help uplift the lives of the people we serve.”
  7. On Leadership: “A great leader is one who listens, learns, and then leads. You have to engage with your team and customers to truly understand and then drive forward.”
  8. On Learning: “The day you think you know everything is the day you stop growing. Continuous learning is the cornerstone of success.”
  9. On Motivation: “Always remember why you started. That initial drive, that spark, that is what will keep you going during the tough times.”
  10. On Humanity: “In business and in life, it’s the human element that counts. Treat everyone with respect, understanding, and compassion.”
  11. On the early days of Pick ‘n Pay: “Going into the parking lot… I would go and help people and put their groceries in the back seat, but I’d ask them if they had a good treatment, ask if anything was out of stock…”
  12. On leadership: “I’ve always believed in people… and if your people believe in your mission statement… and they can be a part of it, you’ve won half the battle.”



Source: Billionaires – Mfonobong Nsehe

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