Altech Multimedia has announced the appointment of Francois Stols as MD. Stols replaces Danie du Toit who will be relocating to Europe to pursue other interests.
Stols brings considerable experience to the role, having served the Altron Group in various capacities since 1979, most recently as technology executive at Altech Netstar. He was instrumental in positioning Altech Netstar at the forefront of insurance and fleet management services through the introduction of leading global telematics systems technology into South Africa.
Stols will assume overall responsibility for Altech Multimedia’s operations and strategy at the organisation’s headquarters in Mount Edgecombe, KwaZulu-Natal.
Du Toit said that Stols had proven himself to be an innovator with a strong track record in developing and acquiring new technologies.
“Francois knows the Altron Group well. He understands our culture of innovation and is thus well-suited to the role. In particular, Francois’ connection to the Altech Multimedia stable, specifically Altech UEC, is extensive owing to him having been closely involved with the organisation for many years. I have no doubt that under his leadership, Altech Multimedia will continue to deliver high-quality products and services to its customers.”
Stols’ association with UEC Technologies, a precursor to Altech UEC, dates back to 1987 when the company was a leading manufacturer of military defence components. In the 1990s, Stols was instrumental in founding UEC Commercial, a company focused on technology-driven ventures such as the design and manufacture of electricity pre-paid meters and electronic toll road systems.
In 1994, under Stols’ leadership, the company partnered with Irdeto and MultiChoice to develop the world’s first Digital Satellite TV (DSTV) decoder and in 1996 UEC Technologies sold off its other non-core businesses to focus exclusively on broadcast technology. To date, the organisation has manufactured in excess of 23-million set-top boxes, of which more than five million set-top boxes were manufactured in 2014 alone.
According to Stols, joining Altech Multimedia as MD presents an opportunity to drive innovation and ensure the organisation stays at the forefront of the latest digital technology. Stols paid tribute to Du Toit, whom he said led the organisation remarkably over the course of his tenure.
“Danie has performed superbly at Altech Multimedia. Under his leadership, the organisation won numerous accolades including two at the 2014 Technology Top 100 awards, under the auspices of the Department of Science and Technology. It is also to his credit that Altech Multimedia continues to be recognised as a leading developer of digital technology for the global pay-tv industry.”
During his tenure as MD, Du Toit received the 2014 Altron Chairman’s Award from Dr Bill Venter. Stols received recognition in 2014 when he was named the most innovative individual in the Altron Group by virtue of his involvement in emphasising an innovative approach towards the development of new technologies at Altech Netstar, together with his focus on the development of intellectual property for the group.