Long knives at Logicalis as execs and vendors disposed of

Wales may not be important to you, but it bloody well was to us

Big changes are afoot at embattled integrator Logicalis UK following the loss of the Wales Public Sector Network (PSN) deal. This includes a re-org, vendor cull and some senior level departures - all ahead of a new boss starting.

European head and acting interim UK MD Arnaud Spirlet told us the company needs to “transform” under a three-year plan, and being squeezed out of its “biggest contract” by BT accelerated this.

“It is time for us to turn around, prepare ourselves to become the system integrator of the future, we are known and well respected in the UK but we have lost that innovating edge we were known for," said Spirlet.

This is a three-year plan designed to get the UK, Ireland and Channel Islands business, which accounts for $330m (£210.7m) of annual sales, back on an even keel following a tough fiscal ’15.

“It will take time to recover from the peak moment with the Wales contract but that has given us more fuel to do the transformation.

“We have to be differentiated, try to solve customers problems better and so that is what I am doing in the UK organisation,” Spirlet told The Channel.

Logicalis has dropped all vendors from its portfolio save for Cisco, IBM, HP, NetApp and VMware, and created four business units: data centre; networking/ comms/ security; analytic insights; and IT services covering managed, professional and cloud flavours.

In the Netherlands, Logicalis runs a services management company (SMC) - a pure consultancy - and a similar practice is to be erected in the UK, so customers in theory are consulted before they buy from any of the four units.

Previously, the org-chart was more “vertical”. For example all the services people were in one team under veep of services Richard Aston. But as of yesterday, Aston left the business with immediate affect. He was unavailable to comment at the time of writing.

“Now professional services are tied to a business unit so there is more exchange between the sales people. Those business units are relatively smaller so it should make us more agile,” said Spirlet.

Equally, Logicalis’ vendor specialist sales teams for HP, IBM and Cisco are now distributed between the four divisions where they had previosuly been standalone units.

Spirlet claimed some of the problems Logicalis is facing were due to the numerous acquisitions made since launching in the UK: “They were all blended so because of that we’ve probably lost some focus”.

Former UK MD Mark Starkey quit in February just days before the end of fiscal ’15, citing personal issues as the reason - we understand the decision was mutual.

It was a tough financial year with IBM server sales tumbling, while the Wales PSN deal had a “significant impact” on the Brit biz, the firm said in its results last week.

Since then, Spirlet has acted as the local chief on an interim basis but with wider responsibilities. He has called on Matt Stevens to act as interim FD to lead the “transformation” agenda, saying that “he [Steffans] has a breadth of experience”.

As a result, long-serving FD Matt Tyne has also left, exiting yesterday at the same time as Aston.

The now former FD Tyne was in the job for almost eight years, and before that he was in the finance department at HDS. As for Aston, he landed at Logicalis in March last year after several roles at Fujitsu including head of client managed services and IT director.

Sam Oliver, a new HR director, joined Logicalis in March and will lead a recruitment drive and train existing employees in line with the “transformation” policy, said the European boss.

Some employees will make the grade, other will not, Spirlet told us. As an example, Cisco expunged 6k heads from the workforce and pulled in 7k with different skills to sell technology as a service.

Spirlet said Logicalis took its eye off the ball in the last year or so: “We’ve probably lost some very good people, we are executing a campaign to get them back. We need to have the right skills for the future”.

The list of candidates for the UK top job has been whittled down to a handful of hopefuls: all of them are from outside the corporation. ®

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