Chairman, Networks First
Career so far
Having been an apprentice with GPO (now BT), I moved into the network industry where I have been for the last 30 years. After working for Racal Milgo, Motorola Codex and then Infotron, five of my colleagues and I founded Networks First where I am chairman today.
What was your first job and were you any good at it?
My first role was in engineering. I'm not sure I was good at it. I was at BT when it was possible to do your week's work on a Friday and the rest of the time seemed to be about doing your own private electronics projects. That sounds great but it didn't take long for boredom to set in after my apprenticeship came to an end. I was glad to move on to my first sales job at 3M.
Who was your top teenage pin-up?
My colleagues won't know this about me but...
I'm convinced I will get attacked by a shark someday, either in the ocean or a competitor.
What is your favourite snack?
Cheese and apple washed down with a cold glass of wine.
What has been your career high point to date?
Setting up Networks First and getting to know a great group of people. That hit me a couple of weeks ago when I met our team of cyclists who had ridden from Stratford in London to Stratford-upon-Avon in dreadful weather to raise money for Prostate Cancer UK. They had worked as a true team with the most experienced cyclists helping the least to ride the distance. I suddenly realised why I feel so passionate about our company.
Has 2013 been good, bad or ugly?
2012-13 was an interesting year that has taught me a few lessons. It has been a wakeup call about what business is about and in particular what our business is about. We are a channel centric services business and we are very, very good at it.
What do you say when asked at a party what you do for a living?
I tell them I'm a director of a business and leave it to them if they want to know more.
If I wasn't working in the channel I would probably be... running a canine hydrotherapy facility. I'm a dog nut.
What will be the channel's biggest challenge in 2014?
Margin, especially with more manufacturers moving into channel spaces such as services. The manufacturers were content to make margin out of product sales but with margins shrinking they want a bigger share of their partner's services margin. I think this will encourage more and more partners to break the rules so they can make money.
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