Channel Q&A: Azzurri CEO Vim Vithaldas

man putting top section of puzzle triangle that has outline of persons head on each piece

What has been your journey to CEO of Azzurri?

I am a chartered accountant by trade and started life as a finance director and CFO. I transitioned to the role of a CEO almost 10 years ago and since then have been fortunate enough to work in various countries in Europe and also across various sectors. The IT sector has always been the most exciting and challenging in equal measure because of the pace at which the market moves.

What has been your best moment in business?

Having graduated and started my business career in London, I met my wife in my first real job. There are plenty of career highlights to choose from, but I have to say meeting my wife is the best one.

What was your biggest regret?

Not selling one of my earlier companies when a compelling price was offered! If I had, I would have been answering this from the Bahamas.

What is the best business advice you have ever been given?

Always ask questions....and plenty of them. The most obvious questions often provide the most clarity to a problem you could be facing.

Which company (other than yours) do you admire the most and why?

I am a strong admirer of companies that always stay relevant to their customers by continuously reinventing themselves as the market evolves. Tesco under Terry Leahy is an excellent example of such a company. A large real estate-based retailer turned itself into the UK’s second largest internet business. You need committed leadership and the right culture to manage such a transition.

There are too many examples of where companies have failed to adapt to changing customer or market needs. Ironically, Tesco US could be the case in point here, where they failed to get to grips with the differing requirements and competitive landscape in this region.

Which other CEO do you believe has done an outstanding job? Why?

Lou Gerstner for the transformational job he did at IBM. It cannot have been easy changing a company that was increasingly perceived as a dinosaur into becoming relevant to its customers again.

What is the single biggest issue facing the channel in 2013?

Margin erosion. In these tough economic times, customers are getting increasingly savvy and often play one supplier off against another. So if channel players continue to try and compete on price, they will find it challenging. At Azzurri, we always focus on adding significant value to the customer while still remaining price competitive.

What’s next for Azzurri?

Continuing to improve and adapt our proposition, particularly around hosted and managed services. We believe we’ve already got the broadest and most relevant proposition for those firms wanting to get the most out of unified comms. But our key objective is to always stay relevant to our customers’ needs, which is why we put a great deal of focus on introducing new offerings into our portfolio, ahead of demand.


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