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Michael  Katz

Michael Katz

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practical experience

Professor Michael Katz is Chairman at ENS, specialising in corporate and commercial law, including advising on M&A, competition law, tax law, privatisation and deregulation, project finance and non-recourse financing, public-private partnerships, and banking and financial markets.

Michael has led many large M&A transactions, both in South Africa and cross-border. He has also led some high-profile hostile bids.

Michael is an expert in broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) advisory, regulatory and compliance, including strategic planning, as well as structuring, implementing and regulating transactions across a wide variety of industries in accordance with the B-BBEE legislation.

Michael has deep expertise in all aspects of private equity, including legal due diligence in anticipation of acquisitions by PE funds of portfolio companies, portfolio and investment structuring, regulatory approvals, management incentives, recapitalisations following on altered investment horizons or other changed circumstances, disposal of portfolio companies, IPO’s and other exit strategies. 

Michael is regularly quoted in the media and speaks at a number of international and domestic conferences and high-profile events. Michael publishes numerous articles, chapters and papers on legal and fiscal topics, including co-authoring the Butterworths Company Law Precedents (four volumes) and South Africa’s contribution to the United Nations’ and Harvard University’s Corporate Law Tools Project. Michael often presents papers on legal and fiscal topics, most recently presented a paper at 50th Anniversary of Commonwealth Lawyers in London on “Directors Duties, Shareholder Remedies and Auditor Duties”. In 1994, Michael was appointed by the New Democratic Government to chair the Commission of Inquiry into the Tax System.  This was the so-called “Katz Commission” and we published nine Reports recommending a significant overhaul of the South African tax system in the light of the new democracy in South Africa and South Africa’s position in the world economy.

Appointments/Professional Affiliations

  • South African Institute of Tax Practitioners (SAIT) – Tax Honorary Fellowship Award 2013
  • Chairperson of the Specialist Committee on Company Law (established in terms of section 191 of the Companies Act, 2008)
  • Chaired the Tax Advisory Committee, reporting to the Minister of Finance
  • Chaired the Commission of Inquiry to Investigate the Taxation System of South Africa
    (appointed by Government)
  • Member of the King Committee on Corporate Governance
  • Trustee of numerous trusts, including: The Nelson Mandela Children's Fund; Constitution Hill Trust; Legal Resources Trust; Constitutional Court Trust; The Donald Gordon Foundation; and The South African Holocaust and Genocide Foundation
  • Chaired the Commission of Enquiry for the Johannesburg Stock Exchange to review the structure and operations of the stock exchange
  • Was a member of the Board of Directors, South Africa 2010 FIFA World Cup LOC
  • Chairman of the Board of Directors, National Housing Finance Corp Ltd
  • Member of the FSB Legislative Committee
  • Chairman of the Specialist Committee on Company Law (established in terms of section 191 of the Companies Act, 2008);
  • Was a member of the Securities Regulation Panel in terms of the 1973 Companies Act.
  • Was a member of a number of Subcommittees of the Law Society of South Africa
  • Served on the Panel of Nugent Commission of Inquiry into Governance at SARS
  • Was a member of the board of directors of the company that hosted the 2003 World Cricket Cup in South Africa

Academic Appointments

  • Honorary Degree: Doctorate of Laws – University of the Witwatersrand
  • Course director, Advanced Company Law – University of the Witwatersrand
  • Member of the Board of Governors – Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • Member of The Council of the University of the Witwatersrand
  • Member of the Board of Wits Business School.
  • Visiting Professor in Company Law – University of the Witwatersrand


  • Chambers Life Time Achievement Award 2021
  • African Legal Awards Life Time Achievement Award 2022
  • The Legal 500 EMEA 2024, 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018 – Hall of Fame; 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015 – Corporate Commercial: M&A (South Africa); 2016 – Legal Market Overview (Africa)
  • Chambers Global Guide 2024, 2023, 2022, 2021; 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017 –  Corporate: M&A; 2016, 2015 – "Star individual" for Tax (South Africa)
  • IFLR1000 Financial and Corporate Guide; M&A, Project finance – 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015 – Highly Regarded (South Africa)
  • Best Lawyers® 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019 2018, 2017 – Corporate, M&A; 2023, 2016 – Corporate Lawyer of the Year (South Africa)
  • Who’s Who Legal 2022 - 2019 – Corporate Governance; 2022 -2019 - M&A (South Africa)
  • South African Professional Services Awards 2016 – Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 15th Annual DealMakers Gala Awards – Lifetime Achievement Award


  • BCom (University of the Witwatersrand)
  • LLB (University of the Witwatersrand)
  • LLM (Harvard Law School)
  • LLD (honoris causa) (University of the Witwatersrand)
  • Admitted as an attorney of the High Court of South Africa