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Tarsus CEO, CFO resign amid Alviva buyout

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Miles Crisp, CEO of Tarsus Technology Group.
Miles Crisp, CEO of Tarsus Technology Group.

Miles Crisp, CEO of technology group Tarsus, resigned yesterday, with the company saying group finance director Joanne Tanner has also decided to leave to pursue other opportunities.

The double resignations were unexpected, as the group is in the middle of a buyout with Alviva, another JSE-listed technology group.

Board chairman Lawrence Barnett says Tarsus will appoint a new CEO shortly.

“Although we would have been pleased to retain the services of Miles and Joanne after the acquisition, we respect their decision to pursue new careers and wish them well. We thank them for their contributions to the group over the years. We will miss their wisdom, commitment, steady leadership and deep industry experience.”

Barnett adds that Crisp was appointed as group CEO in 2014, with a mandate from the board and majority shareholder Investec to optimise operations, derisk funding, strengthen governance and facilitate the sale of the group to a new owner.

Having achieved these goals – culminating in the announcement last year that Alviva Holdings plans to acquire Tarsus – Crisp believes this is an opportune time for him to exit the group.

He will leave this month and hand the reins to a new leader with a fresh mandate.

On Tanner, who had been with Tarsus for 10 years, the company says she is leaving in August to move to a new chapter in her career.

Tarsus is a value-added technology distributor, representing global hardware, software and information security brands.

Established in 1985, the Tarsus group has two main operating subsidiaries: Tarsus Distribution, which owns the South African, Botswana and Namibian IT distribution operations; and Tarsus on Demand, which operates a cloud solutions business.

The company was valued at R185.5 million as at 28 February 2020, the amount which Alviva offered to take over the company.

The resignation of Crisp and Tanner comes a few weeks after Alviva announced it had concluded the takeover of competitor Tarsus in a R185 million deal.

Commenting on the proposed deal, Tarsus said: “Subject to the approval of the Competition Commission, TTG is set to be acquired by Alviva Holdings. The due diligence process has been completed and other suspensive conditions relating to the transaction have been agreed to by Investec Bank and Alviva.”

Alviva said the Tarsus deal was motivated by its plans to expand the current IT distribution businesses into the retail customer segment where it has limited exposure.

Further, Alviva noted its intention to expand its product baskets by adding new vendors and the desire to grow its cloud solutions business also necessitated the deal.

Tarsus’s cloud business is significantly larger than that of Alviva’s.

Alviva said growth plans into Africa also stimulated the takeover, as Tarsus’s African business exceeds R670 million revenue.

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