Logicalis snaps up ex-NCR bloke Gale to run UK ops

First job: Hire yourself a gaggle of veeps

Logicalis has finally filled its vacant UK boss chair with former NCR exec Ben Gale, who has picked up the baton to reshape the troubled integrator.

The first job facing Gale, who fills a post that had been vacant for months, is to name a local services veep and FD and then to translate the strategy developed by Euro chief Arnaud Spirlet into “operational objectives”.

Talking to The Channel, Spirlet said he is leaving those appointments to the new UK boss, who starts today. “We purposely haven’t filled those roles, we want to let Ben build his team, there has to be chemistry”.

Around 27 per cent of Logicalis’ European revenues are generated in the UK so getting the business growing again is vital for the health of the group. This eluded the recently departed senior management team.

In the past seven months, the integrator has parted with UK boss Mark Starkey, sales director Tony Brooker and head of services Richard Aston.

This followed the loss to BT of Logicalis’ long-held and biggest contract with Wales Public Sector Network, a gig that contributed hundreds of millions of pounds to the top line since it started in 2007.

Under a three-year “transformation” plan, Spirlet has consolidated the product portfolio, dropping all vendors except Cisco, IBM, HP, NetApp and VMware. He has also created four biz units: data centre, networking/ comms/ security; analytic insights; and IT services, comprising managed, professional, and cloud.

Spirlet told us Logicalis needs to keep the plates spinning in its traditional business, “restating what we are famous for externally – networking and data centre services”, while it beefs up the IT Service Management and analytics piece.

He said the existing services operation needed a rethink, “It had lost its way”, and needs to get closer to solving customers business issues. This has internal implications - “do we have the right level of automation”, being one such concern.

“The new strategy must be translated into tactical action with clear and crisp operational objectives. What do we do with our managed services approach, do we have to rethink the service desk.”

“CIOs have heard about flashy hyper converged hybrid clouds, but they have got a legacy infrastructure that is delivering a service, and at the same time IT has invaded the business. They are in the middle of this and it is frustrating for them. We need to bridge this divide.”

The job of work facing Gale - who also previously had senior roles at Xerox, Reed Business Information and most recently as CEO at The Logic Group and Tensator Group - won’t be done in a month or a year, and will dictate the success or otherwise of the UK organ in the long term. ®

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