Capita onshores IBM transformer man as chief growth officer

New hire has work cut out. Say it with us: Ggnagh... gna- digital transformation

Beleaguered outsourcing biz Capita is turning to IBM Global Business Services (GBS) – another beleaguered outsourcing biz – to onshore its managing partner for North America, hiring him as chief growth officer.

Ismail Amla's recruitment was trumpeted by London Stock Exchange-listed Capita today: he fills a position that didn't exist within the business before, or at least he will do when he starts on 1 December.

Chief exec Jon Lewis said the newbie will straddle a "number of important areas to support our transformation and goal of returning the business to revenue growth by 2020".

As anyone with a passing interest in Capita will know, financial results have taken a bit of a bath of late, with restructuring costs and crashing sales contributing to a £515m loss in calendar '17.

Lewis, a supposed turnaround specialist who climbed on board last autumn to paper over predecessor Andy Parker's reign, has a get-better plan that includes selling non-core units, and doing "fewer things better" – software, HR, customer management, government services and IT services.

Capita will also invest £500m over the next three years on its infrastructure, people and tech – it is amazing how many companies promote digital transformation (sorry, natural gag reaction to that word) when they haven't even eaten their own dog food.

Amla has spent two years at IBM, and he could perhaps be forgiven for wanting to escape the burning bridge within GBS, a division that has found growth hard to come by over the past five or so years and has itself been involved in a hardline expense purge and repeated redundancies. Some might say Amla is jumping from a skillet into, er, a frying pan.

Prior to IBM, he was CEO at consultancy Capco and even further back in time he had various roles at Accenture and was also a veep at CSC, which merged with HPE ES to create an even bigger basket case.

Amla was quoted as saying he was "excited" to be joining Capita. Well, what else is he going to say on the press release signalling his appointment.

Apparently Capita is "well positioned to play a leading role in the transformational journeys being undertaken by the public and private sectors," Amla said in a prepared remark.

The end game? To "secure Capita's position as the digital transformation partner of choice". ®

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