HP-specialist distributor Exeed has lured former Tech Pacific (now Ingram Micro) head Tony Butler back to IT to bolster its growth plans, recruiting him as a non-executive director.
Butler says he was approached for help by several struggling IT firms in Australia, where he lives for about half of each month, but chose the role at Exeed because he believes it is poised for further growth.
“I’ve always admired Justin and Andrew’s [Exeed directors Justin Tye and Andrew Bain] business model. They’ve grown the business to a size where a person like myself can strongly contribute.
“I didn’t want to be engaged in the business on a day to day level because I’ve been there, done that and got 200 t-shirts. There are some other businesses that are at a point of stagnation and are struggling to find growth opportunities, and I didn’t want to be involved in a turn-around situation.”
Butler says he will assist Exeed in a “big step” in its growth.
“They’re at a point where many founders founder. It’s a big step to go from where owner operators are in touch with everything and have a flat structure, to lift it to a larger, more complex structure. That’s necessary to even double the growth.”
Justin Tye says he and Bain introduced Butler’s role to get independent input into the company’s plans.
“We wanted someone who had the experience to really offer something significant to the company, in terms of its strategy and direction.
“Tony’s got a huge amount of experience, a lot of contacts and enormous knowledge of technology. Most important was his knowledge of distribution and the business structures you have to have around that.”
Tye and Bain have previously worked with Butler in the early 1990s, when the pair worked at HP, for which Tech Pacific/Ingram Micro holds distributorship.
Butler is a director of several distribution-related companies outside the IT industry, including motorcycle, aircraft, machinery and equipment importer Caspex Corporation. He is also a director of Water Systems Treatment Specialists, which he says employs about 20 staff each in Australia and New Zealand.
In addition, he is a trustee and director for the Children’s Literacy Foundation and the Pacific Co-operation Foundation.
He consulted to Ingram Micro for about a year after fully exiting the general manager role in mid 2007. He began at Tech Pacific in 1988.
After consulting for Ingram he spent two months in Europe and began looking for new business opportunities towards the end of 2008.