Dimension Data executive chairman Jeremy Ord has stepped down from the technology group he co-founded, while a string of other top executives, including co-founder Bruce “Doc” Watson, have also left.
The Nippon Telegraph & Telephone (NTT)-owned technology services group informed employees as recently as this week about the resignations, according to a well-placed source with knowledge of the situation.
Ord is understood to be leaving Dimension Data after failing to convince NTT to refloat the company on the JSE as part of a management buyout and black economic empowerment deal — only the empowerment deal happened. It was delisted after NTT acquired the business in a £2.1-billion deal in 2010. It’s understood that Ord’s contract of employment was ending on 30 June.
Ord could not immediately be reached on his mobile phone for comment.
TechCentral has learnt that other top executives and senior staff leaving the group include Saki Missaikos, a former MD of Internet Solutions and most recently head of strategy for the group; John van der Vyfer, group commercial director; and Steve Nathan, who advised on mergers & acquisitions and sat on the board. Ed Gassner, who was appointed to lead Dimension Data’s Britehouse unit in 2018, has also resigned – though he apparently left an earlier date than the other executives.
A spokeswoman for Dimension Data confirmed the departures to TechCentral and later on Tuesday said in an e-mail: “The (departing) leaders have made great contributions to our business over the years. They have been instrumental in many ways to the success of the company to date. We wish them the best in their next endeavours.”
The dramatic management changes come after NTT announced last year that former Dimension Data CEO Jason Goodall, who was appointed as CEO of NTT Ltd, will be stepping down in mid-2021. Abhijit Dubey has taken the leadership reins from Goodall and, according to a source, is likely the driving force behind the management changes at Dimension Data – and the decision not to entertain the proposed management buyout and relisting on the JSE.
The exit of the senior staffers comes just months after Dimension Data CEO Grant Bodley resigned in March, to be replaced by Werner Kapp with effect from 1 April. At the same time, the group appointed Nompumelelo Mokou as MD of its important Southern Africa business unit, also with effect from 1 April. Mokou, who was previously head of Dimension Data’s Intelligent Customer Experience business, has been with the group since 2016.
The developments that led to the exit of Ord and his lieutenants appears to have reached a climax sometime in May, when NTT issued a statement in which said it was “increasing its commitment” to the Middle East & Africa region where Dimension Data operates. The business, NTT said, will be “strengthened by deeper integration” with its global parent.
A source with knowledge of the situation said when Ord’s push for a management buyout and listing of Dimension Data on the JSE did not get the green light from NTT, it no longer made a great deal of sense for him to stay on as executive chairman.
In NTT’s May statement, Dubey (Goodall’s successor) said that the Japanese group had made the decision to remain invested in Dimension Data, “driven by the company’s belief that the Middle East and Africa region is strategically important to the company’s vision and also represents a substantial growth opportunity”. — © 2021 NewsCentral Media