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Oakton founder hands reins to Wilson

Oakton founder hands reins to Wilson

Oakton's longstanding managing director and co-founder, Paul Holyoake, has taken a step back from day to day operations, handing the reins to chief operating officer, Neil Wilson.

Following the management reshuffle, Holyoake will take up the post of executive chairman. Current chairman, Steve Vizard, will retire from the board.

The services company is also on the hunt for an additional non-executive director.

Hokyoake said the move had been planned for some time and was in line with the end of financial year.

Wilson, who was appointed COO in 1992, was the natural choice for the position, having been with the company for five years, he said. "Neil has been heavily involved in planning the business and has been doing aspects of the [CEO] role for the past 6-12 months," Holyoake said. "It's great for the company to have him in this position."

Oakton would not be hiring a replacement COO.

Wilson maintained a hands-on role last year during the company's restructure from a conglomerate of subsidiaries into a single organisation. He said he would not be instituting any radical changes.

"I'm not intending to alter the model and our services," he said. "We may look at complementing these with other services, but we're focusing on talking to more customers and markets."

This would include growing its sales in both Melbourne and Sydney, as well as an eventual move into the Queensland market, Wilson said.

Holyoake was one of the founders of Melbourne-based business in 1988. He said the highlight of his time had been seeing Oakton grow from an organisation with 70 staff and one service business to one with about 365 employees and eight service lines.

The company's listing on the stock exchange in June 2000 had also been a milestone, Holyoake said.

"It proves the flow of the business has worked and the money invested with the ASX listing has been used significantly," he said. Holyoake will continue to work on several strategic initiatives, such as identifying and cementing future acquisition opportunities.

The company has purchased five organisations in the past five years.

"I'll be able to get across more of these than was allowed in the day to day running of the business," he said.

Meanwhile, Vizard is facing civil charges in the Federal Court in relation to allegations made by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) that he improperly used information given to him as a director of Telstra.

In a statement, the watchdog alleged that between March and July 2000, Vizard used confidential Telstra information when trading shares of three listed public companies: Sausage Software Limited, Computershare Limited and Keycorp Limited.

The case will be heard on July 21.


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