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Wednesday, 18 October 2023 13:51

Stephen van Coller to step down after years of fixing EOH.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.


JSE-listed information and communications technology services company EOH has announced that CEO Stephen Van Coller will step down as chief executive and retire from the company's board on 31 March 2024.

In a statement, EOH said: "Over the last five years, Stephen has successfully led the EOH Group through a complete restructure and turnaround with a focus on saving jobs, deleveraging the balance sheet and the implementation of world-class governance systems."

Van Coller also this year led a recapitalisation of EOH's balance sheet through a rights offer.

"During the last financial year, EOH has been able to focus on growth and now operates as a normal company with the majority of its legacy issues having been resolved," the group said.

The successful rights offer completed in February 2023 has given the board the freedom to consider the next chapter for EOH and Stephen has asked for his contract not to be considered for renewal beyond the six-month extension. Stephen will however remain available to the board after 31 March 2024, should he be required, to help with a smooth leadership transition and the completion of any outstanding projects that require his involvement."

At the same time, EOH has appointed Marialet Greeff as interim chief financial officer from 1 November. A chartered accountant, Greeff will replace Megan Pydigadu, who will soon join Spar Group in a senior role. It will now begin a search for a permanent replacement for both Van Coller and Pydigadu.

Van Coller says: "It has been quite a journey and not what I expected when I accepted the CEO role in 2018. Nevertheless, I am immensely proud of what we have achieved as a team. EOH today is a sustainable company, which lies at the heart of South Africa's ICT ecosystem and plays an important role in everyone's lives."

"It has great potential both locally and internationally, and now is an appropriate time to hand over to new leadership to guide the company through this next chapter."

Van Coller has also played a crucial role in the reduction of EOH's debt, while disposing of businesses deemed non-core.

Under his leadership, EOH opened criminal charges, looking for R6.4 billion in damages from the former executives fingered in the alleged corrupt activities.

In the group's Annual Financial Statements for the year ended 31 July 2023, EOH said that it increased its operating profit from continuing operations to R135 million.

The group reported a loss per share from continuing operations of 20 cents (2022: -62 cents). The headline loss per share also stood at 19 cents per share (2022: -45 cents).

The picture is worse when looking at total operations, with the loss per share deteriorating by 44.4% to 13 cents per share (2022: -9 cents), whilst the headline loss per share almost doubled, extending 90.9% to 21 cents loss per share (2022: -11 cents).

With the continued financial strain, the group did not declare a dividend for the period under review.

The group pointed to some positivity, having completed its financing agreements with Standard Bank to refinance the remaining debt from 31 March 2023, creating more certainty around its capital structure and near-term liquidity.