Trevor first enrolled at Rhodes University in 1963 to study for a Bachelor of Science. He latter added to this with a marketing qualification from the Graduate Business School of the University of Cape Town and also participated in the Stanford University Executive Programme in 1989. However, throughout his exceptionally busy corporate career as one of South Africa’s top executives, he remained an enthusiastic Old Rhodian and a generous supporter of his alma mater, serving on the Board of Governors for thirteen years until his retirement early year.
Evans started his career in 1967 as a laboratory assistant in the plastics division of Metal Box. A quick learner, he soon began working his way up the corporate ladder to become a Director of the company in 1983. After Nampak and Metal Box were fully merged he was appointed as an Executive Director, then Group Managing Director, and later as Chief Executive Officer of Nampak Limited until March 2003. He then served as Non Executive Chairman until his retirement in May 2010.
During his esteemed career he served as Vice-President of the Institute of Packaging (SA), chaired the Association of Plastics Processors of South Africa and was President of the Plastics Federation of South Africa. In 1991 he received the Gold Medal from the Federation for exceptional service to the industry in South Africa. In 1993 the Black Management Forum gave Evans a special award for being “The most progressive Chief Executive in South Africa” in recognition of his leadership role in the transition from Apartheid to democracy. In 1997 he was named the Packaging Achiever of the Year by the Packaging Council of SA in recognition of distinguished services to the industry. And in 2009 he was inducted to the International Plastics Hall of Fame in recognition of the significant role he has played in the industry at an international level.
Also punctuating his career has been his service on the boards of Standard Bank of South Africa, BlowMocan (Holdings), Nampak Holdings (UK) and CG Smith Ltd.
In addition to his exceptional personal achievements his commitment to serving the University to the best of his ability has benefitted Rhodes for a very long time. Since 1999 he has served on the Board of Governors, became Chair in 2005 and only stepping down from this position in early 2012. During his time as Chair he initiated and facilitated the establishment of the Rhodes Development Committee, a sub-structure of the Board set up to provide assistance to the University in funding large infrastructural and academic development projects. Although at this time he was a busy executive of a listed company, he would always make time available to offer guidance and support to the University whenever requested. He would also often accompany the fundraising team on visits to donors as well as willingly use his extensive network of contacts to open doors to potential supporters of University projects. In addition to this Trevor also served on the Rhodes Business School Board of Advisors which benefited form his depth of knowledge and borad business experience.
Rhodes was the recipient of substantial support while Evans was head of Nampak and during the Centenary Campaign between 2001 and 2004, Nampak donated R1 million towards a postgraduate scholarship in Environmental Management. But it is not only in his professional capacity that Trevor has supported the University as he personally made a wonderfully generous donation to the recent Library campaign.
As important is the significant advocacy role he has played for the University and he has without question been one of Rhodes’ most influential ambassadors over the years, placing the interests of the university at the forefront of his daily life. As much as the University helped shape Trevors path through life, so too has it benefited from his willingness to give back and it is therefore appropriate that we acknowledge his contribution through the Old Rhodian Award