Q. What has been your journey to CEO of Accumuli?
After my MBA I became involved with a university spin-out called Identum that secured venture capitalist funding. Identum was a great business with highly innovative technology for email encryption; the business was sold to Trend Micro in 2008 for a multimillion dollar sum. I then spent four years at Trend Micro post-acquisition in various sales and business unit director positions before joining SAP as head of telecoms and utilities.
The majority shareholder in Identum recommended me to the chairman of Accumuli PLC as a potential CEO due to my security and leadership experience – I will always be grateful for that recommendation.
Q. What has been your best moment in business?
A. There are a few that stick out for me: being appointed a director at the Caudwell Group while only 26; the build and sale of Identum to Trend Micro; building a great team spirit at Trend Micro following a couple of years of high staff turnover; being appointed CEO of a high potential and acquisitive PLC in Accumuli; and the recent sale of Webscreen to Juniper.
Q. What was your biggest regret?
A. I try not to regret a decision because I’ve learnt as much from my mistakes as I’ve done from my successes. Having said that, the thing that frustrates me the most is when I’ve made a decision that conflicts with my gut feeling – that’s happened a few times in my career and every one of those decisions has taught me a lot.
Q. What is the best business advice you have ever been given?
A. There is one particular business statement that comes to mind, ‘everything you do in business should either be about making money, saving money or serving your customers, nothing else matters’. To achieve this then I do believe that the most important thing a leader must remember to do is provide clarity. Aligned to this is another piece of wisdom - ‘you should never be afraid to ask the direct or simple question’.
Q. Which company (other than yours) do you admire the most and why?
A. From a financial and service perspective I admire Domino’s Pizza Group. It secured the master franchise for the British Isles from the US parent company and used technology and marketing to materially change its market position over a household name in Pizza Hut. Domino’s has delivered consistent year on year growth since 1993. I read an impressive statistic the other day that said that they now have 770 stores in the UK, Republic of Ireland, Germany and Switzerland with plans to grow to 1200.
Q. Which other CEO do you believe has done an outstanding job? Why?
A. Historically, Jack Welsh the former CEO from General Electric. He served as CEO from 1981 to 2001 and during that time the company’s value rose 4,000 percent. He also pioneered several management innovations along the way that are now considered standard practice.
Given the current economic environment, I think any CEO running a business (regardless of size) that is profitable, customer-focused, treats employees with respect and returns value to shareholders is doing an outstanding job.
Q. What is the single biggest issue facing the channel in 2013?
A. Winning new and profitable customers.
There is huge demand on all organisations to have a differentiated, repeatable and scalable value proposition that can help win new and profitable customers.
Q. Last month Accumuli sold its Webscreen business to Juniper Networks. What was the reason behind that?
A. We had a very clear strategic reason for the sale. Accumuli is a UK-based independent specialist in IT security. Our primary purpose is to help businesses secure their IT infrastructure against security threats, which we achieve through the delivery of a solutions and services framework. Webscreen is a software vendor in its own right and therefore needed to create its own distribution channel to market without the confusion of a reseller also being its owner. As a privileged reseller, we continue to take a huge interest in Webscreen’s development and how we take its DDoS proposition to our customers and prospects.
Q. What’s next for Accumuli?
A. Firstly, I am thrilled to be leading Accumuli as we build and scale the company in the IT security marketplace. These are very exciting times for us. Already we have made acquisitions to strengthen the portfolio, and the future will be based on expanding our capability across our technology, professional services and managed services. The security landscape expands unabated and our role is to help our customers manage and mitigate their risks and compliance issues. I might be biased, but Accumuli has a tremendous opportunity to continue to grow in a very tough economic climate.
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