SA tech execs – then and now - TechCentral

SA tech execs – then and now

Dimension Data's Jeremy Ord in the 1980s, and a more recent image of him

When Dimension Data unveiled its new brand identity and logo last week, it released two separate images of its chairman, Jeremy Ord, one from the 1980s, the other more recent, to illustrate to staff why “change is important”.

That got the editors at TechCentral thinking: what did other well-known SA technology industry leaders look like in the 1980s and 1990s? We approached some top executives and asked them to send through old pictures of themselves. A few demurred, but many agreed, sending through great images of what they used to look like.

We hope you enjoy the gallery. We’ll run part two in a few weeks.  — Staff reporter, TechCentral

Datatec CEO Jens Montanana in the 1990s, and today

MTN SA MD Karel Pienaar in 1995, along with a more recent photo

MWeb CEO Rudi Jansen in 1999, left, with a recent image

Lars Reichelt, 12 years ago, and the Cell C CEO today

What Altech CEO Craig Venter looked like in the mid-1990s, and today

On the left, Dimension Data Middle East & Africa CEO Allan Cawood in 1985



  1. So much for transformation! And we wonder why laws get passed to push AA and BEE!

  2. Oh my … All White Males. Female Execs needed. The sad news is that woman particularly Black Woman are still being given short shrift when it comes to boardroom appointments. Questions remain about our tech sector’s commitment to some of the key areas of governance, board composition and attitude to transformation. From the list above Altech Led by Craig Venter has shown positive attitude towards empowerment, and for that he deserve respect.

  3. Those men have all worked extremely hard to get where they are. Don’t you ever take that away from them. I agree that more women and more black people are needed, but we can’t just *put* them there, they have to *prove* that they can be there! Just as all the men on the photo’s above have. You don’t just *get* a huge IT company, you *deserve* it! You build it from scratch. That is how your name gets on the list. Few other groups than white men and white women have achieved this in the past. We should educate the youth in a morally responsible way so that they realise that only hard work and a positive attitude can get you at the top, not the colour of your skin alone…come on, that’s just racist!

  4. I agree wholeheartedly with Janneman. All the ANC are doing is to teach young people that they can get something for free. Few white people got anything for free during apartheid so if they have it it’s because they deserve instead of being put in a position only because they have the right skin color like today.

    If you want it then work for it and compete against white people on an equal playing field. Policies for implementing reverse racism won’t reverse the inequality of the past and all the ANC’s racist mindset will achieve is people in positions that don’t know what to do and mess things up for the whole country.

  5. @ Prom are you serious:
    ” Few white people got anything for free during apartheid so if they have it it’s because they deserve instead of being put in a position only because they have the right skin color like today.”

    I am white and grew up under apartheid and got a very good, essentially free education, was guaranteed a job and the vote all for free. (well, maybe at the price of free military training ;-))

    Now compare that your average black family who had their land stolen, houses demolished, given bantu education and no vote.

    And you still thing there are equal playing fields.

    Yes some whites are talented and worked hard. The rest relied on apartheid and maids and garden boys to get where they are today

  6. Wow, a lot of misconceptions and generalisation going on here.

    This is a high-tech industry which of course will have a majority of white company CEO’s, as this tecnology originated and continues to evolve made by discoveries and technological advances from the western world.

    What would the reaction have been if this was an article about prominent witch doctors and I played the race card because there were no white faces?

  7. @Nolwandle

    Just like Julius, Prom was in nappies when apartheid were dismantled and, just like Julius, got no idea what he’s talking about. Not that ever stopped him having an opinion on every subject.

    You’re right that us whiteys had it easy to get an education. Or, at least access to education, you still had to pass. BUT, after that, you worked your @ss off to compete with all the other whiteys who also got a decent education.

    These gentleman above had no easy ride to get where they are today.

  8. Come on all, you are missing the point of the article. It just shows the then and now pictures and has got nothing to do with politics. Why not just have a laugh ? As stated many were invited but only a few responded with pics. It might have been that some females and black execs were invited but declined. Why must everything on this sort of forum always revert to politics ?

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