Newly appointed Adapt IT CEO Tiffany Dunsdon will remain based in Perth, Australia, where she has lived for the past 12 years, and is comfortable leading the software group from there despite the bulk of its revenue being generated in South Africa.
Dunsdon, who was previously commercial director of the JSE-listed group and replaced former CEO Sbu Shabalala after his recent resignation, said the Covid-19 pandemic has shown that that working remotely is entirely feasible using modern communications technology.
“I have been in Perth for 12 years and was chief commercial officer for all of that time,” she said in a Zoom call with TechCentral on Tuesday. “As an executive director, I attended every board meeting across those 12 years.”
Dunsdon said that before Covid struck, she typically visited South Africa half a dozen times a year – and for several weeks at a time. She expects to resume travelling once the pandemic is over.
“I haven’t seen a colleague in 18 months, and you know what we have been through” as a group, she said, referring to the drama around Shabalala, who was accused of being complicit in an assault at his Durban home (charges he has denied); the unsolicited and ultimately unsuccessful approach by Huge Group to acquire Adapt IT; and the offer – supported by Adapt IT management – from Canada’s Volaris Group to buy it out and delist it from the JSE. “We have navigated all of that virtually with great success.”
She said almost all engagement with Volaris about its acquisition of the group has been done online. “It’s the norm of being part of a multinational these days.”
She said she also has a strong team on the ground in South Africa, led by chief operating officer Tony Vicente.
Separately, Dunsdon said Adapt IT’s strengthened balance sheet – net gearing has improved from 45% to 17% in the past year – has put it in a strong position to resume its strategy of pursuing growth through acquisitions.
We are comfortable with a gearing ratio of 30-50%. This does mean we will be able to apply cash to acquisitions
“We are comfortable with a gearing ratio of 30-50%. This (Adapt IT’s improved gearing) does mean we will be able to apply cash to acquisitions.”
Any deals, however, are only likely to be announced after the delisting, which is expected in December — assuming the Volaris Group transaction goes ahead, which now seems likely. — © 2021 NewsCentral Media