Max Goldsmith is breathing a sigh of relief.
He has managed to achieve a seemingly impossible task: navigating his way through the ashes of Powerlan Queensland to ensure that creditors of the XSI business get their money back.
The achievement is a moral victory for XSI, but also leaves the way clear for the company to go forth as XSI Data Solutions, a group of four storage divisions now owned by Utility Services Corporation (USC).
Powerlan sold XSI to DVT earlier this year. Under the terms of the agreement, earn-out revenues and the cash from the sale were to go to XSI's remaining creditors. But when administrators moved in on Powerlan Qld, all bets were suddenly off. Goldsmith was devastated.
"A lot of the creditors were smaller companies and if they go down $30,000 it hurts them very badly," he said.
It was a situation that went against the very culture of XSI, where Goldsmith built a business based on strong relationships and trust. For Goldsmith, discharging the debts of the former XSI business was a matter of ethics, even though he was in no way obligated to the creditors of the former Powerlan company.
That culture still permeates the business -- the 12 founders of the original XSI company are still working together after 18 years.
"We've dodged a lot of bullets, but everyone has still got their jobs," said Goldsmith. "I like to think it is because we are an ethical company."
How Goldsmith managed to pull off the coup remains a mystery, but it is likely to be linked to the terms and conditions attached to XSI's sale to Powerlan.
Meanwhile, the new entity goes from strength to strength, planning for growth and hiring new staff. The storage group, which comprises Dawn Technologies, Digital Tape Solutions, e-Data Professional Services and XSI Technology, has been renamed XSI Data Solutions and now ranks among the largest data storage specialists. As well as government and education contracts, XSI can boast 14 of Australia's top 20 companies as customers.