Picture: 123RF/Sergji Khandozhko
Picture: 123RF/Sergji Khandozhko

Telecoms specialist Huge Group, — which only a few years ago was dismissed as an also-ran — has become a magnet for top talent in the industry.

Last week Huge reported that Vodacom executive Rob Burger had taken up the post of FD of key subsidiary Huge Telecom from August 1. Burger served as Vodacom’s executive head of finance, and was also the prime mover in establishing the Vodacom commercial credit division.

In the past few years Huge has underlined the potential of its revamped operational strategy by wooing top executives from MTN.

Former MTN CEO Zunaid Bulbulia — who initially joined as a nonexecutive director — now serves as Huge’s CFO, while another MTN executive, Gunter Engling, was recently appointed MD of Huge Telecom.

Last year former Telkom COO and chief commercial officer Brian Armstrong — who is also well known in academic circles — was appointed as a nonexecutive at Huge.

Well-known technology sector analyst Duarte da Silva also serves as a nonexecutive.

In the past five years Huge has recorded convincing operational performances, which have driven up its share price nearly 2,000% from levels of about 45c in August 2013 to about 920c now.

While the share prices of mobile telecoms heavyweights such as MTN, Vodacom and Blue Label have declined over the past year, Huge has registered a sprightly 17% gain.

Engling says Burger’s operational and financial experience will stand him in good stead to drive development at Huge Telecom. "[Burger] has valuable experience that is needed at Huge Telecom."

Market whispers suggest Burger’s financial skills might hasten Huge’s thrust into the fast-growing fintech sector.

Huge Telecom offers fixed-wireless telecommunications services to corporate clients, and has a network of more than 700 business partners. Other Huge operations include Huge Connect (standalone fixed-wireless telecommunications solutions for SMEs) and Huge Networks, which specialises in internet data services, managed network solutions, branch connectivity and hosting services, as well as website and system development.

Huge CEO James Herbst says the appointment of Burger shows the group’s ability to attract intellectual property of the highest calibre from the biggest telecommunications companies.