Dean Forbes is one of the UK’s most unusual and successful business leaders.

Dean Forbes is one of the UK’s most unusual and successful business leaders.

Dean has had a phenomenal 20-year career as a Tech Leader and has orchestrated exit deals in excess of 1 billion dollars over the course of his impressive career. A trailblazer with the enviable moniker of a ‘Tech CEO Unicorn’, he has the respect and accolades of both his professional industry peers and the wider the Black African and Caribbean community and has been named twice as one of the UK’s most influential Black people, by JP Morgan sponsored Powerlist.

“If people like me aren’t playing their part in lifting up, elevating and pushing forward the next generation of people from similar backgrounds to me, then who will do it? Enjoying success and gaining wealth and never elevating the next person is not how I want to be thought of or remembered."

– Dean Forbes

“If people like me aren’t playing their part in lifting up, elevating and pushing forward the next generation of people from similar backgrounds to me, then who will do it? Enjoying success and gaining wealth and never elevating the next person is not how I want to be thought of or remembered."

– Dean Forbes

Dean is a highly respected tech CEO who is well known for transforming the fortunes of enterprise software companies. Over the course of his 20-year career, he’s orchestrated exit deals worth in excess of one billion dollars. Lloyds Banking Group and The Daily Telegraph both named him one of Britain’s 50 most ambitious business leaders. He’s amongst the UK’s 100 most influential black people, according to the J.P. Morgan-sponsored Powerlist of 2021 and 2022.

Dean’s career starts from humble beginnings in south-east London. Twice homeless in his early years, then finding his feet in professional football, things came to an abrupt end in 1998 when he failed to obtain a new contract with Crystal Palace or sign with another team. Dean’s then agent informed him that it was time to focus on conventional employment and referred him to a contact at a Motorola call centre where Dean embarked on a new career path. His ability to adapt and learn quickly in this rigorous sales environment, combined with his upbringing and the discipline gained through football, laid the groundwork for the business career he’s built today.

Dean is an example of how success can be achieved regardless of one’s origins or socioeconomic disadvantages. He’s a motivating boss who believes in the importance of a strong work ethic, determination and a positive approach when it comes to seizing any and all opportunities.

A go-getter, there’s been no stopping Dean. By the age of 29, he’d played a key part in the international expansion of the US software company Primavera where he was instrumental in its sale to Oracle; a deal for a reported $550m. Moving to Paris-based software firm KDS then gave Dean his first opportunity to operate at CEO level. He designed and implemented changes in the business model and product strategy ultimately leading to a multimillion-pound acquisition by American Express (GBT) in the largest technology deal American Express (GBT) had ever executed at that time.

Dean then became CEO of JMI Equity backed CoreHR, a cloud-based supplier of HR and payroll solutions, headquartered in Ireland and growing in the UK. Within three years, Dean had led the business to achieve impressive growth and a return to profitability, making it an attractive acquisition for The Access Group in what was reported to be the largest private to private deal of an HR technology company. As part of the transition of CoreHR to The Access Group, Dean was made president of The Access Group’s HR and payroll technology division and a member of the company’s executive board.

In March 2021, Dean was appointed CEO of Forterro, a European leader in mid-market manufacturing ERP solutions that’s backed by Battery Ventures. Dean has ambitious plans for the company, which he aims to achieve through both organic growth and an exciting set of acquisitions.

Forbes Family Group was formed by Dean and his wife Danielle Forbes to assist the entrepreneurs, community causes and individuals that Forbes Family Group supports and invests in. A logical and unsurprising step for this charitable and committed team has been to build and participate in a range of social projects and to cooperate with charities from communities similar to those in which Dean and Danielle grew up. Dean’s pride as a mentor comes from his belief in the power of education and aiding those from similar backgrounds to his own. Additionally, Dean is a board member of Phase 3, a people technology consulting and services firm and a member of the Provantage business advisory panel. He is a member of the board of directors at charity ACLT and a generous donor to several other non-profits and charities.

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