Big shake-up at Altech Autopage Cellular - TechCentral

Big shake-up at Altech Autopage Cellular

Boyd Chislett

Altech Autopage Cellular has acquired sister company Altech Technology Concepts for an undisclosed sum as part of a plan to offer converged communication products and services to retail consumers and small and medium enterprises.

The merged business will be renamed, though no final decisions have been taken yet on what the new entity will be called. Boyd Chislett, CEO of the new entity and formerly CEO of Altech Autopage Cellular, says it’s “highly likely” that the “Autopage” name will be discontinued as it refers to largely defunct paging technology, a precursor to mobile phones, a space in which the company used to be a big player.

Both Autopage Cellular and Technology Concepts are part of the JSE-listed technology group Altech, headed by Craig Venter. The value of the deal isn’t being disclosed yet as Altech is in a closed period.

Chislett says it was always Altech’s intention that Autopage Cellular and Technology Concepts would cooperate, but he says it’s been a “battle” to get the companies to work effectively together. “We decided to fast-track integration,” he says. “Effective 1 March, we have bought all the assets that sit in Technology Concepts and will create a single NewCo over time.”

Both entities will continue to market themselves under their respective names until the branding element is resolved, he adds. “That’s ancillary to the real discussion, which is how we leverage the two entities in the converged space.”

As part of the shake-up, Technology Concepts MD Wayne de Nobrega will take on a new innovation and strategy role in the merged entity, reporting into Chislett. “Wayne’s role will be built around the non-operational roles in the business, guiding the business on key trends and assisting with innovation and expansion strategies.”

He says De Nobrega is “100% supportive of the changes” and that there are “no issues with leadership”.

“Wayne’s role will add value to the business and will allow him to understand technology and customer requirements,” Chislett says.

Technology Concepts GM Deidre Dawson will also take on a new role, the core function of which will be taking existing and future products into new markets. She will continue working closely with De Nobrega.

As part of the changes, the newly merged entity has a single sales director across all portfolios, channels and products. The intention, says Chislett, is to become a one-stop shop for the communication needs of consumers and small and medium businesses.  — Duncan McLeod, TechCentral

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