The Strategists

Abdullah Verachia



Abdullah Verachia

Expertise: Strategy execution, The disruption series Strategy design, innovation

global strategist

Abdullah serves as CEO of The Strategists, where he plays an active role in assisting companies and organisations to craft competitive future strategies and build innovation functions. He is renowned for his expertise in building ambidextrous organisations.

With significant expertise in strategy, innovation and disruption, Abdullah facilitates numerous high-level strategy sessions and breakaways for companies and governments, and is an authoritative speaker on the world stage regarding these matters.

He has led strategy, innovation and consulting assignments in an array of sectors including banking, mining, finance, asset management, construction, insurance, legal, audit, FMCG, telecoms, retail and automotive. Abdullah and his team have consulted and guided more than 250 global multinationals firms (listed and non-listed) to build disruptive, ambidextrous organisations, with a focus on building success in the now and the next.

Abdullah has led strategy, innovation and advisory teams that have built strategies for over 200 leading companies globally. Abdullah also led the team that crafted the 2017-2030 Gauteng Economic Development Strategy in association with the province’s Premier and Executive Council. He also led the 2017 Mauritius Competitiveness foresight strategy and played a vital role in the Oxford University and Gates Foundation programme on South Africa in a Digital Age. Abdullah also played a lead role in the governance workstream of the South African presidential state-owned enterprises council (psec). He also led the team that facilitated the strategy for the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust. 


  • Selected for the Brightest Young Minds in South Africa
  • Awarded Harvard Business School Dean’s Scholarship for leadership and innovation
  • Recipient of the 2019, 2020 and 2021 GIBS Excellence in Teaching Award for executive education and academic programmes, as voted by staff and students
  • Presented with the 15-year Excellence Award for contributions made towards and development of the Model United Nations
  • Made an honorary member of the Golden Key International Honour Society

global speaker

Having presented and consulted in more than 60 cities globally, Abdullah has been recognised as a leading speaker, disruptor, strategist and thought leader on disruption and the interplay between strategy and disruptive innovation. His experience makes him a sought-after global speaker in these areas.

In December 2017, Abdullah received a standing ovation at the acclaimed TEDx Euston in London. Abdullah was also invited to be the keynote speaker at the 2018 World Speech Day. Having built numerous disruptive and truly innovative companies, Abdullah is able to fuse experience, insight, strategy and expertise into a beautiful and relevant tapestry that has application to companies and organisations around the world.

Abdullah has delivered presentations around the world to leading listed firms, international organisations and governments. He has captivated audiences in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzen, Mumbai, Bangalore, Dubai, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Accra, Dar Es Salaam, Nairobi, Frankfurt, Munich, Copenhagen, Madrid, Paris, London and New York. Some of the world’s leading institutions, including the School of Public and International Affairs at Colombia University in New York, TEDx Euston, the OECD Paris and Casa Asia in Madrid, are among the acclaimed bodies that have invited Abdullah to present at their events


Abdullah is a PhD candidate with a focus on strategy and dynamic capabilities.
He is a Harvard Business School alumnus, having completed the acclaimed Harvard Business School General Management Program, and also holds a Bachelors in Law and a Masters in Management (cum laude).

Abdullah has also completed a number of executive programmes namely:

Strategy and shared value, with Professor Michael Porter’s Institute of Strategy and Competitiveness at Harvard Business School.

Executive programme at University of Oxford’s Said Business School

Executive programme at University of Oxford’s Said Business School


Abdullah is a regular media commentator for a number of global news outlets and publications including CNBC Africa, BBC, CCTV, CNN, SABC, MoneyWeb, Business Day, SAFM, 702, Al Jazeera, New York Times, Financial Times, Reuters and the Sunday Times.

Abdullah is the author of ‘Disruption Amplified: Reset, Rewire, Reimagine Everything’, which was published in 2020. He also co-authored a book on the commercial corridor between Africa and India, and contributed to ‘The Book Every Business Owner Must Read’.

Abdullah has authored a number of academic journal articles and business school case studies.


Abdullah sits on several boards and also serves as an EXCO advisor to leading companies. Companies and organisations have found Abdullah’s unique blend of legal, business, emerging market, digital, strategy, innovation, academic and human capital experience to add significant value to their organisations. Many companies have gone on to build successful, long-term partnerships with Abdullah as a trusted EXCO advisor.

An ability to advise and guide senior leaders and teams to build disruptive and ambidextrous organisations sets Abdullah apart and has solidified his reputation as a globally sought-after advisor and strategist.


Executive: International at Rand Merchant Bank
FirstRand India Management Board
Co-Founder and Partner: Frontier
Advisory (acquired by Deloitte in 2015)

previous board & advisory

Advisory Board: Gauteng Innovation
Brains Trust: Youth Employment Service
Board: Penryn College Council
Appointed by the Minister of Trade and Industry as a judge for the South African
Premier Business Awards
Chairperson: South African Model United Nations
Advisor: Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Development Centre for the 2011 edition of the African Economic Outlook


CEO: The Strategists
Senior Faculty: GIBS
Programme Director: Harvard Senior
Co-founder of i Car Technologies and digicars

current board & advisory

Member: The Institute of Directors South Africa
Chairperson of the Board: Education Africa
Board: General Electric South Africa
Board: Clarke and Sons (including Twizza)
Social Advisory Panel: Sibanye-Stillwater
Trustee: Londvolota General Electric
Supplier Development Trust Member: University of Pretoria Think Tank on the Future of Work

Abdullah Verachia is a sought-after global speaker, advisor, practice strategist and innovator. He is adept at fusing practice, education, insight, empathy and experience together to add significant value at all levels. Abdullah has served in senior executive and board roles, crafted competitive strategies for leading companies and governments around the world, lectured at some of the top-ranked business schools globally and also built and run a number of successful companies.

Abdullah, you have served as a guide, a mirror and a voice on our board. We are truly indebted to you

ceo, telco