About Dionne Van Zyl
(BSc (Engineering), BA (Theology), MBA, Ph.D. (Management)
Dionne Van Zyl is the CEO of i49 Group, Inc., based in Santa Barbara, California. Following his graduation from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, with a BSc (Engineering) degree, Dionne joined the South African military, where he served as an officer in the Electronic Warfare regiment.
Dr. Van Zyl completed his BA (Theology) degree while serving as a full-time pastor at the Hatfield Christian Church in Pretoria, where he became an ordained minister. He was also one of 5 leaders who formed a national movement called Interyouth to promote inter-racial harmony in South Africa. Some of their meetings had over 11,000 young people of all races in attendance.
In 1990, he left the church to start Silicon Systems, CC providing military defense technologies in national defense contracts and later diversified into factory automation systems as the political climate changed. He and his partners formed a joint venture with a German company to form BMC Intelligent Technologies (Pty) Ltd to provide financial services technologies for insurance companies. BMC grew into a R20 million venture before Dionne immigrated to the United States in 1994.
Dr. Dionne Van Zyl successfully established Exchange America (a financial services technology business) in the USA. Exchange America was a joint venture between Dexus Technologies, Inc., DST Systems, Inc, and Financial Holding Corporation, Inc.(the largest privately held insurance group in the USA). DST is a publicly traded company with 11,000 employees providing recordkeeping for the mutual fund industry. FHC is a privately held company with over $4.6 billion in assets. He was appointed CEO of the joint venture in January 2001 with 85 employees and an 11-member executive management team.
In 1998, Dr. Van Zyl and his wife felt compelled to give back to their community by starting a school for academically able students. Leveraging a similar model in Dallas, Texas, Deo Preparatory School was started. Within 3 years, it was one of the leading academic achievement schools in Georgia, and students scored in the top 4% of the nation on the highest testing standard.
Today, Dr. Dionne Van Zyl is the founder and President of i49 Group, Inc., which provides CEO consulting services and leadership training programs for emerging companies that have experienced success and want to take their companies to the next level. His clients include emerging businesses and multinational businesses spanning a range of industries, including technology, financial services, electronic manufacturing, real estate development, online marketing, and personal development companies.
In 2002, the Van Zyl family was proud to receive American citizenship. Dionne and his wife Bridget live in Atlanta, GA. They have four married children and two grandchildren.