Ben Ward has over 20 years C-Level Executive experience in running conglomerate and multi-national businesses, in Africa, Europe and the US. He also sits on several Boards and is currently the Chairman of DevShack International –  a FinTech Company highly active in the Zimbabwean and Zambian Financial Sector. 

Ben co-founded Altitude Advisory International, with a view to offer Strategic and Executive Advisory Services to clients across industry sectors where he has an interest and expertise – these sectors include: FinTech, Hospitality, Retail, FMCG, Logistics and Agri-business.

Ben is dedicated to continuous improvement and his strengths include strategic thinking, clear communication and decisive decision making. He ensures objectives are understood and met and is particularly adept at building coalitions and consensus around challenges. Ben has excellent experience in M&As, Divestitures and post-merger integrations and is well-versed in turnaround programs. Ben is passionate about developing people, and supporting them in fulfilling their potential. Sustainable social upliftment and capacity building are central to his approach.

 During the course of his career, the highlights of his work experience include:


  • Altitude Advisory International: Chief Executive Officer (present)
  • DevShack International: Chairman of the Board (present)
  • Radicle Produce: Founder and Chairman of the Board (present)
  • Meikles Ltd: Strategic Advisor to the Chairman 
  • Lonrho Africa: Chief Executive Officer 
  • AMC Group North America: Chief Executive Officer, responsible for growing US business with expansion to Chile, Peru, South Africa, and Shanghai
  • Capespan Ltd UK: Executive Director, and earlier Finance and Operations Director


Ben is a Chartered Director with the IOD, with commerce and finance training from University of Stellenbosch. 


Kelly Searle-Smith is a seasoned professional with 18 years of Management Consulting experience. Following Kelly’s successful career working for one of the world’s largest Consulting Firms, Accenture for over a decade and thereafter one of Africa’s fastest growing ICT companies listed on the JSE – Adapt IT, Kelly jointly co-founded Altitude Advisory International.

Kelly’s ambitions for Altitude Advisory International is to be the Strategic Partner of choice at the Executive level, offering advisory services for complex transformational initiatives and strategic projects. 


Kelly’s passion and drive to execute strategy and deliver on business results ensures she delivers on-time, in-budget and sustainably, so that the change and transformation is successfully adopted and embedded by the organization. Kelly’s strengths include: strategic thinking, problem solving, unlocking value, driving innovation, managing transformation and sustainable change and continuous improvement.


Kelly has led high profile, strategic and complex transformation and turnaround programs reporting into the CEO/CFO and Boards of several Multi-nationals, Globals and Local companies spanning these industry sectors: Banking, Financial Services, Retail, Oil & Gas (O&G), Utilities, Mining, Manufacturing, Logistics, and Public Sector. Kelly has international experience having led Accenture’s Global Energy Hub network, spanning 60 countries around the globe. 


Some of her engagements during the course of her career includes:

  • Altitude Advisory International: Chief Strategy Officer (present)
  • Zanaco (Bank in Zambia): Executive Digital Transformation Programme Manager (present)
  • Adapt IT (Pty) Ltd: Energy Markets Executive & Head of Business Advisory
  • Accenture SA: Senior Manager (Natural Resources, Strategy, and Management Consulting Practices)
  • Multi-national O&G, Global Oil Majors, National Utility: Leading Strategic Projects
  • Other Roles: Value Architect, Thought Leader & Business Development Manager 


Kelly holds a BSc degree, with Double Majors in Chemistry & Applied Chemistry from University of Cape Town (2000).


Armand van Niekerk is a professional Management Accountant, with 5 years’experience in Risk, Business and Financial Analysis. He was appointed in 2019 as a Financial Analyst & Business Consultant, at Altitude Advisory International, focusing across multiple industry sectors, including Financial, Manufacturing and Agri-business.


Armand’s value-add to Altitude Advisory International is his problem-solving, financial modelling and business case development skills and capabilities for strategic projects. In the last year, he has also been involved in several Due Diligence projects for M&As across the Agri-sector, spanning wine, grape, berry and citrus farms, as well as a mussel-factory exporting to the US.


Armand’s work experience includes the following:

  • Conducting Risk and Financial Analysis
  • Quality Manager and IT Officer
  • Intellectual Property (IP) Management
  • Project Management
  • Drafting of Risk Manifests
  • Marketing Management
  • Business Case Development
  • Financial Modelling
  • M&A Due Diligence (including BBEEE Transformation Projects)