Curro founder to step down as CEO

Tertiary division to list separately this year.

The current COO of Curro, Andries Greyling, is to succeed founder Dr Chris van der Merwe as CEO, effective from July 1. This comes as Curro anticipates major growth in tertiary products and positions itself to “access the market more aggressively this year”.

The news was announced in the JSE-listed independent school company’s annual results statement, released on Tuesday. Share closed up 1.39% at R48.99.

Van der Merwe is to be a non-executive director and strategic advisor to Curro Holdings (schools). Greyling will be assisted by CFO Bernardt van der Linde.

Van der Merwe founded Curro in 1998 and has served as its CEO since 1999.

New tertiary company

“In view of the potential future growth of the tertiary-education market, Curro has separated the schools and tertiary-education businesses to keep management focused and for segmental reporting purposes,” the group said in its results statement.

Curro is to unbundle the tertiary-education business and list a yet-to-be-named tertiary education company on the JSE, during the course of this year. Its strategy, according to Van der Merwe, will be to develop tertiary campuses and grow through acquisitions.

More details on the listing are to follow in due course.

Van der Merwe will be non-executive chairman and strategic advisor to this tertiary-education company. He will also “co-ordinate Curro’s schools and tertiary products to provide continuity for Curro learners to progress to the tertiary education company in future”.

Embury Institute for Higher Education, a private higher education institution that specialises in teacher education, was established in 1995 and acquired by Curro in January 2013.

Embury’s co-founder and current CEO Johan Human, is to become CEO of the tertiary-education company as of July and remain Embury’s CEO until a new MD is appointed.

Samara Totaram, previously CEO of Curro’s Meridian Venture and MD of Thembeka Capital, is to be CFO.

Embury expansion

Embury started expanding last year.

At the end of 2017, its Durban operations will move to a new facility in Durban that can accommodate 2 600 students in 2018 (its current campus has 1 273 students).

Embury is also adding two new campuses:

  • the Waterfall Estate campus in Midrand, which is accredited to enrol 1 600 students and is scheduled to be in operation by the end of 2017;
  • and Montana in Pretoria, with capacity for 1 200 students, which is accredited and should be ready for enrolment by mid-2017, and for full intake in 2018.

Embury is also concluding a transaction with Botswana’s Ba-Isago University.

Curro believes that the tertiary-education component can reach more than 100 000 students. It is “supplementing” its executive team with a separate team in Durbanville, Cape Town “to spearhead expansion into the tertiary market”, so that the existing team can focus on school operations.

“With the group entering an exciting new era, we remain optimistic about the prospects for the sector,” Van der Merwe said. 

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This is music music to the ears… a combination of affordable good quality education, excellent and strong management and good financial returns and sustainable vision for growth.

Pity the share already reflects all your optimism and more. Good companies don’t always make good investments.

Listen to interview on RSG tonight. This will be the future of South Africa. As the current educations system degrade, the future leaders, and logical thinkers will all be out of these private education systems.

Now I wonder when we will hear of similar initiatives coming from the whizz kids in the PPF or the BBC – not sure what they call themselves but are these not supposed to be the ones getting the economic transformation going? Or have I misunderstood?

One of the many opportunities that these guys do not take advantage of .. instead they complain about W.M.C ?

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