Altron to tap IT sector for new CEO - TechCentral

Altron to tap IT sector for new CEO

Robbie Venter

Altron has a shortlist of candidates for a new CEO, all of them from the IT sector, the group’s current CEO, Robbie Venter, said on Monday. This comes as Altron disposes of non-core assets to focus on the technology industry.

Speaking on the TechCentral Podcast, Venter said Altron should be able to name the new CEO in “the next quarter” — or by the end of June 2017. Venter said he expects to step down this year, though will remain on the board, along with his father, group founder Bill Venter, as a nonexecutive director.

In December, Altron announced arguably the biggest shake-up in its 51-year history, setting out plans to introduce a new strategic partner — in the form of Value Capital Partners (VCP) — and to collapse its control structure.

The announcement sent Altron’s shares, which had already risen strongly from multi-year lows below R5/share, spiralling higher. In the past year, the counter has added 110%, but remains far below its highs of 2007, when it was trading north of R40/share.

VCP said it would invest R400m into Altron for a roughly 15% stake through a cash subscription for shares.

The principals and co-founders of VCP, an investment firm that “deploys best-practice private-equity principles in the listed equity space”, are Antony Ball and Sam Sithole, previously CEO and chief financial officer respectively of Brait. They will join Altron’s board of directors as nonexecutives on completion of the deal.

The proposed deal, if it proceeds (shareholders will vote on it on Thursday, 9 March), will result in the collapse of Altron’s current control structure.

The announcement of a new CEO should follow in relatively short order after ratification of the planned restructuring by shareholders.

“We’re in the advanced stages of a process we have been following for probably the last 12 months since I made the announcement last year that, as part of the evolution for the family, that we’d be seeking a new CEO,” Robbie Venter said in the podcast.

“Because this is an IT-driven business going forward, we are leaning very heavily towards finding someone with good experience in that field. Certainly, the candidates we have on the table all have good experience in IT and … have had the opportunity at MD or CEO level to bear the responsibility that it requires to take this company forward into its next stage.”

Though the board is considering internal candidates, it has said it would prefer an outside candidate who “would bring some fresh thinking into the group”.

Venter said that stepping down as Altron CEO will allow him to spend more time with his family. His wife lives in London, while his children attend school in the US.

More in the podcast.  — © 2017 NewsCentral Media

  • The writer holds shares in Altron

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