Bill Venter to step down as Altron chair next week

2017-02-24 07:45 - Gareth van Zyl
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Bill Venter, founder and chairman of Altron.

Bill Venter, founder and chairman of Altron.


Johannesburg - Industry veteran Dr Bill Venter, who founded JSE-listed IT group Altron  [JSE:AEL] 51 years ago, will step down as the company’s non-executive chair at the end of this month.

This is according to a market update to shareholders on Friday morning, which said that Venter has decided to retire as non-executive chair with effect from February 28.

He is set to assume a non-executive role on the board as chairman emeritus from March 1 2017.

“The board takes this opportunity to thank Dr Venter for the important and central role he has played in the development of the South African electronics industry and the South African economy as a whole,” said Altron in a statement.

“The board also thanks Dr Venter for his leadership of and significant contribution to Altron over the years. The board looks forward to Dr Venter continuing to provide his entrepreneurial skills, leadership and integrity to Altron as a non-executive director,” Altron added.

Venter is set to be replaced by Mike Leeming, an former banker who has been on the Altron board since 2002.

The change in chair positions at Altron comes after it announced a fresh R400m capital investment in the company from Value Capital Partners Proprietary (VCP) late last year.

VCP is an investment company founded by Antony Ball, founder and ex-CEO of Brait, and Sam Sithole, ex-CFO of Brait.

Altron plans to tap the investment to accelerate growth plans as well as issue new shares to VCP. Altron further plans to provide VCP with an approximate 15% stake.

The Venter family agreed that if the transaction is successful, it will collapse Altron’s current control structure through the conversion of the company’s low-voting shares into a single class of voting shares.

“Currently I and the Venter family have a 57% voting position in the Altron Group, but our economic position in the group is approximately 17.5%,” said Bill Venter in a statement in December last year.

“Going forward, the family will maintain its economic position and, subject to regulatory approval, a mechanism will be put in place that will afford the family a 25.1% voting position.

“This will remain in effect as long as the Venter family holds an economic interest of more than 10% in Altron,” Venter added.

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