BT EngageIT’s appointment of former Redstone boss Martin Balaam has been taken as a signal of the reseller’s acquisitive intent.
Balaam took the reins of BT’s midmarket reseller arm on 1 October following the departure of Nick Gorringe, which CRN exclusively revealed over the summer. BT has not made a reseller acquisition since those of Lynx and Basilica in 2007, which it used to form the basis of EngageIT.
Balaam said he wanted to get his “feet under the desk” before unveiling his strategy. But he told CRN: “I am delighted to be joining BT EngageIT and looking forward to growing the business significantly over the coming year or so.”
Balaam grew former charge Redstone from £40m to more than £200m in sales through a string of private equity-backed acquisitions, including Symphony Telecom and Comunica.
Des Lekerman, joint managing director of VAR Eurodata, said his appointment signals that BT EngageIT has shifted its focus from organic to acquisitive growth.
“This shows that BT is serious about building the organisation,” he said. “It has brought in a senior guy to move the business forward to achieve its aspirations.”
Martin St Quinton, director at VAR Azzurri, said Balaam’s background was a sign of BT’s aggression.
“Martin is a corporate financier rather than a voice and data manager so it is an interesting appointment,” he said. “Maybe it is a sign that BT is embarking on some consolidation. It is a good time to do that because valuations are attractive and if your balance sheet is as strong as BT’s you are in a good position to take advantage of the current economic cycle.”
However, Nick Grossman, corporate business development director at 2e2, said: "Martin is more than an M&A guy - he is a smart operator who knows his stuff and he has more tools in his bag."
BT EngageIT is already one of the UK’s largest resellers, employing more than 900 staff and boasting 72 field engineers and 2,900 billing customers.
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