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ERP specialist appoints Dean Forbes as CEO - with a mandate for M&A.

"Highly profitable and cash-generative"

Forterro, a group of companies that deliver ERP software to mid-tier businesses -- with a focus on manufacturing specialists -- has appointed former president of The Access Group Dean Forbes as CEO.

Forbes led CoreHR as CEO from 2016 until its sale to The Access Group; one of three once struggling enterprise technology organisations he has turned around for investors, delivering over $1 billion in exit transactions.

Forterro is backed by Boston-headquartered VC fund Battery Ventures. Board member member and partner Dave Tabors said: "Bringing in new, Europe-based leadership is part of the natural evolution of Forterro.

"The US-based Forterro leadership team have done an outstanding job of growing the business by evaluating, acquiring, and operating ERP companies. To push Forterro into its next stage of development, however, it is time to cultivate leadership talent in closer proximity to our business unit operations," Tabors said.

"We are very excited to work with Dean as he prepares Forterro for its next stage of growth.”

Forbes, who's worked his way to the top from a first job in telesales for Motorola, told The Stack that inorganic growth was a focus. He said: "Forterro is an exciting company. It's highly profitable, highly cash-generative, with amazing upside potential. It focuses on extremely specific businesses. We'll be looking closely at how we can broaden the market. That will likely include M&A; accelerating in the cloud will also be a focus."

As an idea of just how specific some of the ERP companies operating under the Forterro umbrella are, among them is France's Clip Industrie, which specialises in softare "well-suited for manufacturers of metal products, boilermakers, and bar turners"; while Sweden's Garp ERP, targets manufacturers and distributors "that need to handle large product volumes with multiple variants, such as clothing, footwear, sporting goods, furniture."

(It's a compelling reminder that there's still a good market for smaller, highly targeted software offerings, at a tier in which buying Oracle or SAP then customising massively is simply not cost- nor time-effective).

The new CEO doesn't get his feet under the desk properly until March. What can Forterro expect? CEOs come in many stripes. Not all have worked their way up ("every CEO starts somewhere though", Forbes is quick to note) from the telesales coalface: "I suppose that early experience where volume was so important has given me a semi-extreme bias in my outlook to really putting in the work", he says. "I also have less reservations than some CEOs about betting on talent from unexpected places and taking bets on junior staff."

Expect to hear more about Forterro in the near future.

See also: TSB COO Suresh Viswanathan on building an IT team, tackling an analogue legacy, and “innovating on the fly