JOHANNESBURG - JSE-listed diversified investment group, African Equity Empowerment Investments (AEEI), announced the appointment of Kevin Hardy as chief executive of its information and communication technology (ICT) group, Ayo Technology Solutions.
Ayo has grown significantly over the past few years, with a substantial 182% increase in growth in revenue during the last financial year, with a sizeable market cap of its own.
The company also has an excellent platform to launch from, leading to further organic and acquisitive growth.
Hardy, who officially takes up the chief executive position on December 1(2017), is a seasoned and respected ICT professional as well as the former managing director of British Telecommunications Africa.
Among other roles he has played a key role in developing and growing digital inclusion across Africa. He will be responsible for driving Ayo into its next significant growth phase.
Ayo’s plans for a separate listing on the main board of the JSE have also been recently approved by the AEEI board.
Group chief executive of AEEI and outgoing executive chairperson of Ayo, Khalid Abdulla, said: “The Ayo board of directors decided that the time has come to appoint a focused individual to drive the next phase and build further growth for Ayo.
“By appointing a chief executive who has the requisite ICT knowledge, coupled with management experience, we are able to firmly drive the business into the digitised IT Revolution.
“This we found in Kevin Hardy, who is a forward-thinking people’s person and someone who shares the same values as we do at AEEI. I look forward to working alongside him in expanding Ayo’s scope and influence in line with our Group Vision 2020 strategy.”
Hardy said: “I am honoured to be appointed as chief executive of Ayo and I look forward to being a part of the dynamic AEEI team, using my skill set and experience to grow and innovate the Ayo Group of companies. Ayo has grown over the past few years and I am excited to take it through its next exciting growth phase, increasing its market share in South Africa, the continent and beyond.”
A further significant change to the board of Ayo was also announced, as Khalid Abdulla stepped down as executive chairperson of Ayo, handing over the reins to Salim Young as the independent non-executive chairperson, in line with good corporate governance.
Young, a corporate lawyer and former director of Webber Wentzel, recently retired after successfully spending 12 years as an executive director on the board of British American Tobacco South Africa.
He is also the deputy chairperson of the board of directors of AEEI and has contributed meaningfully to the strategic direction and growth of the group over many years. He chairs AEEI’s remuneration and audit committees.
Congratulating Hardy on his appointment Young said: “Kevin joins Ayo at an exciting time in the company’s growth cycle. I have no doubt he has the necessary qualifications, experience and determination to navigate Ayo through its next growth phase, as the company prepares to fully embrace the digi-sphere.”
Abdulla remarked: “The technology sector underpins every aspect of modern life and Kevin and his team are well placed to take advantage of the abundant opportunities this represents. Africa is a hotbed of innovation right now and together, we look forward to discovering and realising its full potential.”
Ayo – which means joy and happiness – offers an array of services in the information technology and telecommunication sector.
The group also holds a 30% stake in British Telecoms SA. It holds a 25% market share of the South African public hospital sector and manages the country’s national health laboratories.
The group also boasts blue-chip clients and partners such as all the major banks, Nokia, Siemens, Cisco and Microsoft.
Once listed Ayo is set to be the largest BEE ICT Company in South Africa, which will also enable the company to increase its footprint across the rest of Africa and beyond.