6 August 2019
JOHANNESBURG – JSE-listed financial services company Ecsponent Limited, today announced that Terence Gregory will step down as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) on 31 December 2019. Dirk van der Merwe, the current Financial Director, will succeed Gregory as CEO. Gregory will remain on the Board as a non-executive director subject to ratification at the next annual general meeting of shareholders, while also pursuing other business interests.
Gregory joined Ecsponent as CEO in September 2010 at the request of the group’s majority shareholder at the time. He served as chief operations officer from 1 December 2015 and was reinstated as CEO from 1 October 2016. Under his leadership, the group has achieved triple-digit growth for seven consecutive years in its key performance areas. During his tenure, Gregory was the driving force behind the transformation of Ecsponent into a diversified African financial services group with total gross assets of R2.8 billion and income and dividend payments to investors of approximately R185 million during the past financial year.
Gregory played an instrumental role in the migration of Ecsponent from the JSE’s venture capital board to the mainboard as well as the conclusion of debt funding agreements with international commercial and development finance institutions. Most recently, he guided the terms agreement of Ecsponent’s pending acquisition of a majority stake in Frankfurt-listed fintech company MyBucks. This acquisition will give the group control over five operational banks and seven non-banking financial institutions across southern Africa.
These initiatives have contributed substantially to Ecsponent’s positioning as a niche financial services provider across Africa, offering targeted investment services, credit solutions and enterprise development initiatives that improve financial inclusion for SMEs.
Richard Connellan, Ecsponent’s independent non-executive chairman, commented:
“Terence’s tenure as CEO is ending according to the group’s succession plan and yet it is with some regret that we announce his departure. During his nine years at Ecsponent, he established an outstanding platform for sustainable growth, despite exceptional challenges and difficult economic circumstances.
We are delighted that Terence has agreed to remain on the Board as a non-executive director. His passion for Ecsponent, corporate memory and intimate knowledge of the group’s business environment will be invaluable, and we look forward to his ongoing contributions. Dirk and Terence have worked closely together since 2010, and we anticipate a smooth transition.”
Terence Gregory commented:
“In a high-performance culture such as Ecsponent’s, evolution is inevitable. After nine years of moulding Ecsponent into the growing, sustainable business it is today, the time is now right for our vision to be carried forward by a new incumbent. With Dirk’s deep knowledge of the business and technical acumen, there is no one more qualified.
I have had the pleasure of working closely with Dirk from the very beginning in 2010 and have every confidence in his ability to lead Ecsponent into the future.”
Van der Merwe is a qualified South African Chartered Accountant and served as the group’s Financial Director from September 2010 to December 2015, working alongside Gregory and played an instrumental role in the company’s turnaround. Van der Merwe was re-appointed as Financial Director in February 2018 and led the diversification of the company’s capital structure through the launch of a Domestic Medium-Term Note programme in December 2018.
In the interceding period, van der Merwe worked as an independent financial consultant and forensic investigation specialist. He was also contracted as Ecsponent’s Company Secretary from 1 June 2016, until the date of his reappointment as Ecsponent’s Financial Director.
Before joining Ecsponent in September 2010, he gained experience across a wide range of industries and organisations, which includes a decade at one of the big four international auditing firms.
A further announcement will be made in due course in respect of the appointment of a suitable Financial Director to replace van der Merwe and any consequential changes to the company’s committees.