Born in Boksburg, South Africa, Robert (Bobby) Godsell grew up in Durban where he attended Grosvenor Boys’ High School. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Philosophy from the University of Natal and a Master of Arts in Liberal Ethics from the University of Cape Town. He also spent a year pursuing postgraduate studies in Sociology and Philosophy at Leiden University in The Netherlands.
He joined Anglo American Corporation in 1974 in the office of the Employment Practices Consultant and was appointed Head of Public Affairs, including Group Industrial Relations and Corporate Communications, in the late 1980s. Bobby became CEO of the Gold and Uranium Division in 1995 and held the position of CEO of AngloGold and subsequently AngloGold Ashanti (following the merger with Ashanti Goldfields) for a period of ten years prior to his retirement in September 2007.
Bobby is one of the longest serving Trustees of the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust and served as its chair from 1987 to 2001.
He is active in business organisations both nationally and internationally, serving amongst others, two terms as President of the South African Chamber of Mines and as Chairman of the World Gold Council and of Eskom. Since 2002 he has served as co-chair of the Millennium Labour Council, a social dialogue body involving business and labour leaders. He is the immediate past chair of Business Leadership South Africa, an organisation representing some eighty large businesses and is also a member of the National Planning Commission. He serves on the boards of the Industrial Development Corporation and the London-listed Russian gold and silver mining company Polymetal International and formerly chaired the board of one of South Africa’s private Catholic universities, St. Augustine’s.
He is a regular contributor of articles to newspapers and journals on business and socio-political issues and in 2008 co-authored (with James Motlatsi) “Do It! Every South African’s guide to making a difference”.