By Alec Hogg
Co-founder of the Arcay Group, Kevin de Villiers, died on Sunday after losing his battle against cancer. He went peacefully with wife Robyn (the R in Arcay) and his children on the bed.
De Villiers, who would have been 68 in December, had a spectacular early career, rising to top management in Barclays Industrial Bank at a ridiculously young age before becoming founding CEO of the demutualised Allied Building Society.
That company was listed on the JSE but lost its independence after a brutal fight when acquired by what became Absa – but not before De Villiers’s resistance forced a near three-fold increase in the price shareholders received.
His skilled and spirited defence was career limiting, but De Villiers never regretted it. Especially when it later came to light that tactics employed by his opponents included tapping his phone.
For more than two decades at Arcay, De Villiers exhibited a missionary-like zeal supporting entrepreneurship, in the process becoming the country’s specialist in new AltX listings. His passing leaves a gaping hole in the sector which holds the key to economic prosperity.
It should not go unnoticed.
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