Dr Garrett, a professor of metallurgy at Wits University before joining the CSIR, has been a key player in the CSIR¿s major strategic and organisational transformation over the past decade. He has been President since 1995. In its recent Annual Report the organisation recorded 20% growth in its contract R & D activities, including close to 40% growth in its international business.
CSIR Board Chairman Roger Jardine, MD of Kagiso Media and previously Director General of the Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology praised Garrett¿s leadership abilities and commented: "Geoff¿s being approached to run this prestigious institution is a mark of the CSIR¿s international stature and credibility. He has added great value over many years for our country and will certainly leave a gap. However, this move will provide a wonderful opportunity to forge closer links with our sister organisation in Australia, as we seek to become more global in our reach and contribution."
In sharing this news with his staff, Garrett indicated that, "after 15 very special and remarkable years with the CSIR and, with my contract period moving into its final phase, it¿s time to move on to new challenges". Adding that he had real confidence in South Africa¿s scientific and technological prowess and achievements, he went on to compliment his CSIR management colleagues and staff as "world class, and in whose hands the challenging and fast moving times ahead in the global technology business will be navigated with great skill and success."
Garrett¿s period of leading the CSIR saw a number of personal and organisational achievements: In October 1999, and in competition with top private sector companies and public sector corporations, the CSIR was the overall winner of the prestigious national Corporate Governance Award, having been a semi-finalist in 1998. In March 2000 the CSIR also received the top award from the National Science and Technology Forum (representing the full spectrum of stakeholders in government, education, industry and labour) for its outstanding contribution to Science, Engineering and Technology. This week, the CSIR received the Institute of Marketing Management (IMM) award as "Marketing Organisation of the Year" for the Pretoria region.
In 1998, Garrett was voted South Africa¿s "Boss of the Year". In 1999 he was named "Engineer of the Year" by the SA Society of Professional Engineers.