Co-Founder & CEO

Following the financial crisis and resultant impact on the small to mid cap market in South Africa in 2008, UCS underwent a period of divestment. As Deputy CEO, between 2009 and 2011, Dean co-led three key disposals. The largest of these was the sale of five independent businesses to Business Connexion Limited (BCX:JNB) in a share swap worth over ZAR 600 million.

 

Dean served as Non-Executive Director on the BCX Board. between 2011 and 2015 where he contributed primarily with regard to the group’s Africa growth strategy and resulting mergers and acquisition activity. He also sat on the BCX Investment and Remuneration Committees up to the Telkom 100% acquisition and delisting of BCX in August 2015. Together with Anton Gaylard, he Co-founded and took up the role as CEO of Crossfin Technology Holdings (Crossfin) since May 2017 (a Capital Eye subsidiary) which is a grouping of businesses reflecting Capital Eye’s Fintech portfolio. Dean qualified as a Chartered Accountant (SA) with Deloitte in Johannesburg in 1999. He was awarded a Deloitte scholarship for academic achievement. Dean holds a Bachelor of Commerce Degree and Honours in Accounting.

Dean has close to 20 years’ experience of investing in ICT businesses in Africa with a background in corporate finance. His experience is broad and extends from pure investor to corporate development to hands on responsibility within the senior finance and executive leadership functions at both the operational and corporate levels. As the previous CEO of Capital Eye Investments (CEI), Dean was responsible for driving the strategic positioning and growth of the private equity investment vehicle with a focus on technology and technology dependent businesses within the African emerging market. Combining technical know-how, in-depth understanding of the African landscape and a track record of operational and financial expertise Dean has a consistent record of achieving returns well in excess   of industry standards.

 

From 2011 to 2016 (5 year period from inception) CEI delivered growth that equated to greater than 4 X money back for institutional and high net worth investors. Following this success, CEI is now looking to consolidate and unbundle the key groupings of assets viz. The Fintech Portfolio (represented by Crossfin) and the proprietary software portfolio (represented by the Argility Group). Dean is contracted to tr and growth of Crossfin CEI was formed as a captive fund of ZAR 100 million following the sale of the UCS Retail IT Services businesses to Business Connexion Group (BCX:JNB) in May 2011 and the distribution of the related sale proceeds. In October 2011, Dean was appointed Group CEO of the remaining portfolio of UCS Group and led the delisting of the group and the subsequent formation of CEI. CEI invests in businesses, at various stages of development including start-up/pre-revenue to mature, cash generative businesses.

 

During his tenure at UCS Group, Dean had driven a number of transactions in his capacity as CEO, Deputy CEO and Group CFO. These include a period of significant acquisitive growth, a period of divestments and a stock market delisting. As Group CFO of UCS from 2002, Dean was instrumental in driving the acquisitive and organic growth of the group. Within six years, UCS grew from a software business with a market capitalisation of ZAR 160 million and 200 employees to ZAR 1.5 billion and 2 500 employees respectively. Dean was the finance lead concluding 14 transactions throughout this period. During this time, Dean also maintained listed CFO responsibilities including financial reporting, internal controls and governance implementation as well as investor relations.

Dean
Sparrow
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