Excalibur CEO James Phipps has become the company’s majority shareholder after leading a management buyout which sees the departure of MD and founder Gary Wetherall.
The move comes as the unified comms provider prepares to complete its sixth acquisition in the last two years, bringing over 10,000 connections and 500 new customers to the Swindon-based business.
The buyout, which leaves Phipps with an 80% stake in the company, has triggered a major management restructuring which sees the management team strengthened with four new appointments.
The new management team includes Dave Wardell, former head of global sales at Nokia Siemens Networks, who has been appointed Excalibur’s sales director, and Tim O’Donnell, former VP of operations at IT services company Sentaca, who joins the company as operations director. Meanwhile, Sally Parker will take on the role of Excalibur’s service delivery manager and Melanie Stevens has been hired as HR manager. The dealer is looking to add another 20 sales and operational staff to its 60-strong workforce by the end of January.
Speaking to Mobile, Phipps said the management buyout signalled Excalibur’s ambitions to grow and embrace new trends in the industry. He added: ‘A lot of people joined the industry 20 years ago but that industry has radically changed. I am only 32 and I don’t want to run a lifestyle business. I am keen to have growth and I am ambitious for the business to push boundaries. I understand a lot of the new technology and what today’s customers need. That’s why I am bringing a top weight sales director and a new management team to the business.’
Phipps said Wetherall will retain a ‘small stake’ but no active role in the business and will pursue other investments outside of mobile.
Excalibur’s latest acquisition will be sealed by the end of January, boosting the company’s base to just over 40,000 connections and bringing its customer base to around 5,500. A second acquisition is also on the cards with the deal expected to be finalised by the end of 2013. Phipps said he had looked at between 20-30 partners keen to sell their businesses but admitted finding the right company continues to be a challenge. He added: ‘For us, the culture is crucial. If customers have been looked after then we can sell them more products but if they haven’t been supported then there is no way we would want to acquire that company.’
He revealed that Excalibur is undergoing rapid growth. ‘We have seen revenue grow massively this year, up more than 50% on the same time last year, largely though acquisition. We aim to triple our business in the next three years through acquisition and organic growth.’
As a Vodafone Platinum Partner, Vodafone One Net is seen as central to the company’s growth strategy. Excalibur has 2,500 One Net lines on its base. Phipps said: ‘That’s around 8%. We want to grow that to 50% in the next three years. It is a key driver of our plans to triple the size of the business because One Net brings us higher revenues and the five-year One Net contracts mean we can invest much more in the business.’
Editor: Carol Millett