Martin Flick has a brief to drive organic growth and acquisitions at Vodafone Platinum partner Olive Communications when he joins the company as MD early next year.
Flick will quit his role as sales director of mobility and converged solutions at Azzurri Communications at the end of January, to take up his new role at Olive Communications. Olive is already on the acquisition trail, having taken over Connections 365, MPC London and Premier this year.
Explaining his decision to leave Azzurri, Flick told Mobile: ‘Olive is a young, exciting and vibrant business, which is in a growth phase. Taking on the broader challenge as the MD of the company and taking it to the next evolution was a compelling offer.’
He added: ‘I want to build on what is a very successful business and deliver and evolve that into a highly scaleable model that will continue to deliver excellent customer service and market-leading propositions and solutions, and in a way that will look to acquire other businesses.’
However, Olive’s acquisition plans will proceed with caution, Flick said: ‘It is really important we have an acquisition strategy that proceeds at a pace that the business can run to. So our core strategy is organic growth but we will consider acquisition whenever the time is right.’
Asked if Flick’s strong relationship with O2 at Azzurri would result in closer ties with O2 at Olive, Flick said: ‘It is an option. Olive is interesting as it has a very strong relationship with Vodafone and O2 so it can offer customer choice. It is important to be able to offer the right solution to the right customer and so diversifying the portfolio is important.’
Flick denied he had been taken on to prepare Olive for acquisition. He said: ‘Everything in life is for sale but if you are asking “do we have a strategy?” at this stage that is not the objective.’ Flick cautioned against a rapid acquisition strategy. Flick said he would bring his long experience in the industry to Olive. He founded Accent Voice and Data, which he sold with business partner Paul Butler to Azzurri in 1999.
‘Owning my own business then working in a larger corporate environment has broadened my skills and experience, helping Azzurri on its journey to become one of the UK’s leading managed business providers. I can take all that experience to Olive, which is at a different stage of its life cycle. I have a good understanding of the market and where it is going.’
Flick’s departure from Azzurri will see director Craig Wellman take on full responsibility for sales at Azzurri. He and Flick currently share that role.
Looking to the future, Flick said: ‘The industry is at a tipping point and Olive is in a position to take advantage of that. There are huge changes afoot. Customer demand is rising and their expectations are increasing as they become more dependent on technology – the quality of service around the management of that has become critical. Organisations that embrace that and try to deliver that service will succeed, and Olive is one of those organisations.’