What a refreshing change is was to find out this week (from IT-Online) that the odd IT executive does actually retire and ride off into the sunset to do whatever it is that they choose to do in their dotage.
All too often these days we read about the sudden departure of top executives from an organisation based on an announcement that diplomatically refers to the executive’s "decision to resign to pursue personal business interests" – spin doctor speak for what was quite obviously a really messy parting of the ways.
More often than not in "pursuing personal business interests", the executive in question turns up in a senior management position in a direct competitor company or ends up in an acrimonious legal battle with the former employer over unfair dismissal or in defence of counter claims of fraud and corruption.
The twin announcements this week that Gerhard Uys (Datacentrix) and Frank Touwen (EMC South Africa) have decided to bow out gracefully at the top of their game was therefore a most welcome confirmation that there is at least some semblance of normality when it comes to pursuing a full career in the IT industry.
While Frank’s retirement after heading up EMC Africa for only five years belies a much longer and fuller career in the local and international technology industry, an oblique reference in the announcement to the fact that he would be "pursuing personal interests" after retirement may be a hint that his vast experience and delightfully dry sense of humour may not have been lost to the industry forever. Don’t be surprised if this veteran turns up again somewhere in the industry as a consultant or as a non-executive director with much to offer to other IT companies.
After more than two decades with Datacentrix – during which time he helped build a reasonably competent but typical box-moving type dealer into one of the country’s premier listed IT companies – it’s unlikely that Gerhard is going to "pursue personal interests" in any other field other than grabbing every possible opportunity that retirement offers to rush off fishing or hunting. If he does choose to keep himself busy with anything to do with IT, it will be keeping a watchful eye on the team he leaves behind at the company.
However they are going to pass their time after retirement, the IT industry in South Africa will be just that little bit poorer for their "passing".
– David Bryant