Brand Pretorius attained his M.Com degree in Business Economics at the University of the Free State in 1972, and started his career at Toyota South Africa in March 1973. Following a number of management positions in research, planning, sales and marketing, he was appointed managing director of Toyota SA Marketing in 1988. Under his leadership Toyota became the leader in both market share and customer satisfaction. In March 1995 he joined McCarthy Motor Holdings as chairman and CEO and was promoted to chief executive officer of the holding company, McCarthy Retail Limited, in October 1999. It is widely acknowledged that Brand played a pivotal role in turning McCarthy around after it was declared technically insolvent in 2001, following massive bad debt write-offs in its Prefcor division. Thousands of jobs were saved. He retired as CEO of McCarthy and as an executive director of its controlling shareholder Bidvest, on 1 March 2011.
Brand has received numerous national marketing, motor industry and leadership awards including Marketing Person of the Year, Automobil Man of the Year and Boss of the Year. He holds honorary professorships at the University of Johannesburg, University of Pretoria, University of the Free State and an honorary doctorate in marketing from the Durban University of Technology. Brand is a Fellow in Leadership at the Gordon Institute of Business Science and the chairman of the Italtile Foundation. He also serves on the boards of the READ Educational Trust and the Motor Industry Ombudsman of South Africa. He is the National Ambassador for the Partners for Possibility program, the Valued Citizens Initiative, as well as of the acclaimed Rally to Read corporate social responsibility program, an initiative he founded in 1998.
Brand serves as non-executive director on the boards of Agrinet, Tongaat Hulett, Reunert, Italtile and Tata Africa Holdings and is the non-executive chairman of Metair Investments. He is also a member of the advisory boards of the business incubator InvoTech and the international consultancy firm Alexander Proudfoot.
Brand published his book entitled “In the driving seat – lessons in leadership” in February 2013. According to Nielsen Bookstats it was the most popular business biography in South Africa in 2013 and has been reprinted six times. He is married to Tillie and they have three sons and seven grandchildren.