World recognition for Woolies boss Zyda Rylands

07 April 2017 - 12:22 By TMG Digital

Her favourite fiction hero is Buzz Lightyear because she draws inspiration from his classic line "To infinity ... and beyond!" in an ever-changing retail environment.

Now Woolworths South Africa CEO Zyda Rylands has become the first-ever recipient of the World Retail Congress Woman of the Year Award.

She was given the special award "in recognition of her inspirational work‚ both as an international leader‚ philanthropist and for her outstanding commercial success"‚ the company said in a statement on Friday.

Group CEO‚ Ian Moir said‚ “To be given this sort of honour by the World Retail Congress is inspiring on many fronts. The award recognises Zyda’s inspirational retail career‚ both internationally and locally‚ and also recognizes the great philanthropic work she has done over the years.”

Rylands commented: "I am blessed to receive the inaugural award‚ but I am even more excited that this is the first of many recognizing women in retail. Though competence transcends gender and race‚ there is still much work to be done by everyone in retail to ensure greater diversity in retail leadership.”

She completed a BCom at the University of Cape Town and obtained a Honours degree through the University of the Western Cape. The qualified chartered accountant has also completed management courses at the London and Harvard business schools.

Rylands is one of the few women on the Sunday Times Business Times Rich List‚ compiled by Who Owns Whom‚ naming the country's wealthiest directors and their total value investments. In 2016 she was ranked 166th with R202-million.