BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Huge Group is proud to have a Board of Directors that brings a wide range of skills, expertise, knowledge, and experience to bear in the oversight and management of our investments.
Non Executive Directors
CA (SA); B.Compt (Hons); Higher Diploma (Taxation)
Non Executive Chairman
Veran holds a B.Compt (Hons) from UNISA, and a Higher Diploma in Taxation from the University of Johannesburg. He has also completed the Senior Management Development Programme at the University of the Witwatersrand. He is an established corporate executive and entrepreneur and is currently a shareholder and the managing director of The Specialists Franchise Group, which has been operating since 1978 and has more than 70 branches in Southern Africa who offer pest control, hygiene, and cleaning services. He also currently serves as the Chairman of the Vodacom Group Pension Fund and a member of its Investment Committee and as a member and the Chairman of the Vodacom Group Provident Fund. Previously, Veran held many senior ranking executive positions at Vodacom. During his 15 year tenure at Vodacom, he served as its Managing Executive: Commercial Operations, as the Acting CEO: Vodacom Business, as the CFO: Vodacom Business, and as the Managing Executive: Credit & Risk. While at Vodacom, he also held various Board and Committee roles.
Non Executive Director
Mike is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Praesidium Capital Management, an investment company that was founded in 2003. He has extensive experience in the investment management industry, and he has a successful track record in the management of various hedge funds, private equity, venture capital, derivative and listed equity investments. Over the years Praesidium has become a proprietary investor that seeks to form long term partnerships with outstanding entrepreneurs. Mike specializes in finding fast growing businesses that have global scale. He represents the largest shareholding in Huge Group and, given the recent change by Huge Group to become an Investment Holding Company, Mike has made himself available to use his skills in this regard by service to the Board. Prior to forming Praesidium, Mike worked for HSBC as the associate director for proprietary trading. He holds a B.Com majoring in economics, business information systems, and marketing.
BSc; Telecom MBA (UK)
Non Executive Director
Vincent has more than 18 years of experience in the telecommunications industry and served as the Chairman of Huge from January 2013 to March 2016. Vincent joined TelePassport in 1999 and served as Client Services Director at the time of merging with Centracell to form Huge Telecom. Prior to the merger, he played a role in the empowerment transaction which culminated in Mojaho Trading acquiring 30% of TelePassport. Vincent was instrumental in the development of Huge Telecom following the merger. During his time with Huge Telecom, Vincent held the positions of Deputy Managing Director and was responsible for bedding down the operations and service deliverables for the combined entity. In addition, he was part of the team which listed Huge Group on Altx in 2007 and the main board of the JSE in 2016. Vincent was also Director of Ambient Mobile from March 2011 to March 2016, during a portion of which he served as its Chief Executive Officer. Vincent is presently the Operations Director of Mano Coal, a significant coal logistics and trading business.
CA(SA); MPhil; B.Bus.Sci; CDFA
Non Executive Director
Conway has spent the last 13 years working as an Investment Specialist, covering both private/public debt and private equity transactions. During this time, he has been involved in the structuring, negotiation, pricing, and execution of numerous transactions, and the monitoring thereof post execution. Although his key focus has been debt transactions, he has also been able to consider and close private equity transactions. His various roles have allowed him to gain experience as a director on various portfolio assets and as a member of various company boards and sub-committees.
Conway is currently the Head of Credit at Prescient Investment Management Proprietary Limited, a leading asset manager, based in Cape Town. Previously, he was the Head: Listed Credit and the Joint Head: Unlisted Credit at Futuregrowth Asset Management Proprietary Limited and a credit analyst at Old Mutual Investment Group Proprietary Limited. He has had regular contact with counterparty management, rating agencies, deal originators, legal advisors, and internal portfolio managers.
Non Executive Director
Dennis served as the CFO of the Aveng Group, the FD at Murray & Roberts Materials and a subsidiary of the Imperial Group. He also held an acting MD position over a large steel manufacturing and mining subsidiary of the Aveng Group & chaired various board committees. During his tenure, he was instrumental in many of the advancements of the company, including the listing of the Aveng Group on the JSE. In 2001, he successfully secured the first R1 bn. US bond for a construction company, delineated in ZAR, with no currency risk. In addition, Dennis played a key role in implementing Aveng’s active global investment strategy, includng the acquisition and delisting of McConnell Dowell, which had previously been listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. He also participated in the successful disposal of large listed and unlisted entities as part of this strategy. From the time of joining Aveng Group in 1998 until his retirement in 2010, Dennis oversaw the growth of its revenue base from approximately R5 bn to a cash generative and highly profitable entity with a market cap of R40 bn.
Non Executive Director
Mary-Ann Boakye is a registered Chartered Accountant with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants and holds a Bachelor of Business Science degree in Finance and Accounting, as well as a Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting from the University of Cape Town (UCT). She also holds a Masters in Development Finance from the UCT Graduate School of Business, graduating summa cum laude.
Mary-Ann has extensive experience in higher education, training program development and accreditation. Between 2013 and 2020, Mary-Ann served as a senior lecturer and Deputy Head of Department in academia. Since 2021, Mary-Ann has worked as a Chief Operating Officer in a mortgage finance institution. As COO, she has contributed towards the streamlining of processes and systems, credit, risk, compliance and people management, stakeholder engagement, and fundraising activities. Mary-Ann also works as an independent consultant to SMME's.
BComm, BAcc, CFA, CA(SA)
Chief Executive Officer
James has over 20 years of experience in the investment industry, 14 of which have been within the telecommunications industry. James joined Huge Group as its CFO in 2006 and was appointed as CEO in 2008. His appointment as CEO of Huge coincided with his appointment as the MD of Huge Telecom, a position he held until 31 March 2018. James was responsible for the initial listing of Huge Group on AltX in 2007 and supported the move to the main board of the JSE in 2016. James has also been instrumental in driving the investment strategy for Huge Group, which has resulted in the acquisitions of Huge Connect and Huge Networks in March 2017. He started his investment career as a private client portfolio manager at Fleming Martin Private Asset Management and BoE and entered the mergers and acquisitions space in 2003, facilitating various listings of businesses on AltX. In 2004, he was a principal member of the team that listed DataPro Group (now Vox Telecom).
ZAK VAN DE MERWE
Chief Operating Officer
Zak holds a B.Com Marketing degree from the University of Johannesburg and has worked across multiple vertical market segments on projects in more than 20 geographic regions across the continent. Until recently he was the CEO of Virgin Mobile South Africa, having been approached by the Board to step in and facilitate a business turn-around. He oversaw the placement of the business into Business Rescue and after a lengthy process, joined the team of Huge Management as its Commercial and Operations Director. He has held numerous executive positions in the telecoms sector, has participated in start-up business initiatives, and he has significant experience in developing and successfully executing business strategies. Leading up to his appointment at Huge Management, Zak has held various roles and served as an advisor to various African organisations. His primary area of expertise, apart from his MVNO expertise, is advising large organizations on business, technology, digital transformation, product, innovation and the diversification of revenue and customer engagement strategies.
Chief Financial Officer
Maria is an entrepreneurially - minded CA(SA) with a demonstrable track record of success in building, growing, and improving the profitability, performance, and value of companies within the Financial Services and Telecommunications sectors. She has held senior positions in a number of JSE listed entities, (most recently as the Head of Finance for Fidelity SecureDrive), has participated in start-up ventures, and has amassed a wealth of experience in leading, influencing, and driving the strategic, operational, reporting, and governance aspects of multi-dimensional financial teams in large organisations. In addition to her financial and commercial expertise, Maria also has experience and insight into the technical aspects of financial and transactional information technology systems, project and programme management, stakeholder management, governance and controls, risk management, and business transformation. She joined the Huge Management team early in 2023.