Press Release
Dr Heinz Pley joins Hyphen as Executive Advisor

  • Ex-McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group and Morgan Stanley executive
    joins leadership team of global expertise company 
  • Veteran professional services and mining supremo will work in strategic business development capacity and offer guidance to co-founders

Johannesburg, South Africa – Hyphen is delighted to announce that Dr Heinz Pley has joined us as an Executive Advisor. 

This move adds valuable experience to our young and ambitious team, with Dr Pley having occupied senior roles with Morgan Stanley, McKinsey and Boston Consulting Group among others over the course of a long and distinguished career. His recruitment comes just weeks after Hyphen announced the hire of Akin Akbiyik as Vice-President of Client Partnerships and represents another key addition at the executive level. 

Dr Pley will aid us with our strategic business development efforts, leveraging his network and working with Hyphen co-founder Dr Erhan Ermis and the company’s two Vice-Presidents of Client Partnerships, Mr Akbiyik and Pietro Vecchiato. His 30 years of professional experience, acquired at the highest level around the world, will also provide crucial guidance to our clients over the course of our engagements. 

He will also advise our founders as our burgeoning business continues to grow and we look to expand into more markets and collaborate with more clients. Dr Pley has followed Hyphen’s journey with interest since the company’s launch in 2018 and met the full team in Athens in March.  

“It’s an exciting business concept and Hyphen is unique in its sort of combination and has differentiated itself in the professional services marketplace with terms of the quality of the work it is doing,” he said. 

“I think there’s more investment in building relationships and understanding the needs, there is more thought partnership and bespoke curation of the resources – all of that differentiates Hyphen.” 

He added: “I’m super excited about the organisation that the founders have built in the five years since they started up with this idea. It’s a diverse team full of different skills and it’s very dynamic and fun. It feels like a bunch of friends working together on something, rather than just being work colleagues.” 

Dr Pley’s launched his professional services career with consulting giant McKinsey, working for them for more than 16 years in South Africa and rising to Global Head of Mining and Expert Partner. He then held the title of Managing Director of Morgan Stanley’s mining and metals group within the Investment Banking Division during a two-year stint in London. 

Other directorships and partnerships followed at Mubadala Development Company, for whom he worked for 18 months in Abu Dhabi, and then Boston Consulting Group, where he was Global Head of Mining, based out of Dubai for five years. His most recent full-time role was as a Partner of Oliver Wyman, working from Dubai and Johannesburg until March 2023. 

During his career, he has served major players around the globe and has been hugely important in helping them with strategy development and implementation, large-scale transformations, organisation redesigns, and strategic sourcing. 

As well as working all over the world and for some of the biggest companies on the planet, Heinz also has a biology degree from the University of Regensburg and a PhD in structural biology from the Stanford University School of Medicine. He was also a professional chess player earlier in his life. 

Dr Pley has previously worked with all three of our co-founders – Dr Ermis, Michael Savolainen and Avinash Nandakumar – and Mr Vecchiato during their respective tenures with BCG. 

Dr Ermis said: “Having someone we know and trust like Heinz on board will help us enormously from a client partnerships perspective. His connections around the world will open doors for us, expanding our range of clients in current priority markets and helping us to explore new avenues for growth. Heinz’s active involvement with engagements will also increase our capacity and enable more clients to enjoy a first-class project experience.” 

Mr Savolainen added: “I am very excited to work with Heinz again and am delighted he has joined us at Hyphen. Having worked closely with him in the past, we all know the ways he can improve our operations on the client side. With his decades of high-level business acumen at our disposal, Heinz will also be a valuable source of advice for the co-founders as we continue to chart Hyphen’s journey into the future.” 



Hyphen was established in 2018 by Dr Erhan Ermis, Michael Savolainen and Avinash Nandakumar. Since its formation, the remote-first business has grown significantly, with 2022 revenues double that of the previous year. 

The company offers a unique value proposition, providing clients with leading experts and consultants through flexible engagement models and offering first-class behind-the-scenes support. Thanks to this approach, Hyphen has partnered on a regular basis with some of the world’s largest businesses, several national governments and sovereign wealth funds. 

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