Business Connexion CEO Dies After Selling Business at Age 41

Benjamin Mophatlane, who agreed to sell his information technology business Business Connexion Group Ltd. last month for $253 million, died yesterday following a cardiac arrest, the company said. He was 41.

“His death is a great tragic loss to the company and the South African business community,” Chairman Tony Ruiters said today in a statement. “Benjamin was instrumental in building BCX into South Africa’s leading IT company,” Johannesburg-based Business Connexion said.

Telkom SA SOC Ltd. agreed last month to buy BCX for about 2.7 billion rand ($253 million) as Africa’s largest fixed-line operator boosts cloud-based offerings of information and communication technology services. The two companies jointly agreed to put the transaction on hold during a mourning period for Mophatlane, BCX said. They remain committed to the deal.

Mophatlane co-founded Business Connection with his twin brother Isaac in 1996. The company merged with Comparex Africa in 2004 and was renamed Business Connexion, which Mophatlane led starting in 2007.

Deputy CEO Vanessa Olver was appointed to replace Mophatlane on an interim basis at a board meeting today, according to a separate statement. A chartered accountant, Olver worked for Deloitte LLP in Chicago and later for shipping firm P&O Nedlloyd and insurer Aviva Plc. Olver was finance director of Standard Bank Africa before joining BCX, according to the company.

Telkom offered 6.6 rand per share for BCX, both companies said in a joint statement on May 22. BCX share price was 6.18 rand as of the market close in Johannesburg.

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