Outgoing University of Hull boss Calie Pistorius to launch new business venture

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 25 Jan 2017

The outgoing vice-chancellor of the University of Hull is to set up a business venture in the city.

Professor Calie Pistorius, who steps down at the end of this month, is to embark on a consultancy role that he says will be "UK-based, with a global reach".

"It's about emerging technologies – it's a very broad field," he said, explaining the premise of his company, Deltahedron, which he officially launches on February 1.

"All companies, to some extent or another, have a technological base, whether you are a university or a manufacturing company and you use it, or your supply chain has it.

"New technology coming along brings great opportunities but also that notion of risk, and what I am going to focus on is a business's strategy in managing those opportunities and risks."

For Mr Pistorius, it brings him almost full circle, having established the Institute for Technological Innovation in Pretoria, South Africa, in the 1990s, which he led for four years.

He was also director of information technology at the University of Pretoria for two years, helping the institution to adapt to advances in IT, before becoming the university's vice-chancellor and principal.

He served in the role for eight years before being head-hunted to the position of vice-chancellor in Hull in 2009.

A past chairman of the National Advisory Council on Innovation in South Africa, Mr Pistorius said: "Deltahedron will be working with associates in the UK and across the world.

"It's a very interesting way to do business because everyone keeps with their own stuff, but you can bring them in at very short notice for their expertise."Some will be university people, some will be large companies; there will be the need for someone with patent law expertise, too.

"Technological innovation is very much a global thing.

"Once you have identified the opportunities and the risks, it is then about how you develop your strategy to deal with these."

He said new technology is surfacing constantly and tracking it is vital.

"If you are the pizza guy, you should be worrying because there's Amazon delivering stuff by drone; for the taxi guy, there is the Uber service to be concerned about; if you are the fax guy, there's an entire industry gone."

Mr Pistorius said he was pleased to be facing a new challenge, while leaving the university "in good hands" with acting vice-chancellor Professor Glenn Burgess, and a strong team, while his successor is sought.

"I am really looking forward to this, it's very exciting. I think it will be very intellectually stimulating.

"This is going back to where I left off before I got sidelined a bit into managing universities."

In developing his plans for Deltahedron, Mr Pistorius said he had spoken to a lot of companies to gauge the potential for his consultancy.

"There are large companies who have a lot of technological expertise that have said they can benefit from an external independent view to challenge their thinking a bit.

"Then there are the SMEs that are focusing on what they are doing – and doing that very well – but they don't have the resources internally to look properly at all the different areas.

"That's where a global network becomes important because you can zoom in on any specific technology."

Mr Pistorius will be working out of Hull's C4DI, which he sees as the ideal location.

"It should have a sign on it saying 'innovation spoken here'. There are small companies in there and large companies with offices in there to catch the wave of what the start-ups are doing.

"There is a real buzz, it's a fantastic place to have an office where you are very aware you are embedded in that culture of innovation."

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