Doors Appointment Image by Esa Riutta from PixabaySYSPRO has announced that Jaco Maritz is to become CEO of the ERP software vendor. The appointment is part of a transition process that Maritz initiated when appointed Chief Operations Officer in 2019. Phil Duff, co-founder and current CEO, becomes executive chairman.

The choice to move to Executive Chairman is wise. Not all transitions work well once the CEO baton is handed over. The pair will have to continue working closely together although the dynamic has evolved. Duff will need to recognise that Maritz needs to have full control. The press release stated that Duff would oversee the board, act as an advisor to the leadership team and also oversee the external decision and policy-making of the business. This third element is where the most friction could occur.

However, for the last two years, the pair have worked closely together and built a level of trust that has led to this announcement. As COO, Maritz led the business operations and key initiatives. Those include introducing new policies and procedures to help the company. He also led the SYSPRO financial strategy.

Duff noted: “Jaco is an exceptional leader and has been the driving force behind the global alignment of our strategy and vision. He lives our shared values of integrity, customer and partner success, and has created an empowered team globally that adds value at every touch point.”

Jaco Maritz takes control

Maritz has been at SYSPRO since 2014, joining as CFO of Corporate before the promotion to COO. Before SYSPRO, he was group finance director at Silverbridge Holding Ltd. He also held senior finance positions at Schaeffler and Veolia.

Maritz commented: “It is an honor to lead SYSPRO as we look at accelerating our business across the globe. Our customer and partner success and experience are at the heart of everything we do. As trusted advisors, we look at delivering solutions and services that the manufacturing and distribution industries we serve. I am extremely optimistic about what we will achieve as a business.”

The route to CEO from CFO within software companies is increasingly common. Maritz has a few peers to talk with, including Steve Hare of Sage and Kevin Samuelson of Infor. The decision to hand the reins over to someone with a finance background is timely with talk of a recession prompted by rising inflation and interest rate, which bring several complications to running any business.

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

The transition from a founder-led business to one led by someone with a background in finance will be interesting. There is also the question of ownership. As Duff starts to step back, will he look to list the company, something that Maritz achieved at Silverbridge, or will it continue in private ownership?

SYSPRO is going through the same transition to a cloud company that other legacy vendors have faced. It will be interesting to see how Maritz evolves SYSPRO and whether there are any changes. With Duff in the role of executive chairman, those changes are not likely to be dramatic, but there could be some planned surprises in the future.

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