Synergy’s acting chief is staking his reputation on addressing customer and staff concerns following the ASX-listed integrator’s acquisition of Leading Solutions.
Acting CEO for the Perth-based integrator, Pete Cappendell, said acquiring Leading’s business from the administrators was too good an opportunity to pass up. Once integrated, the acquisition will see more than 60 per cent of Synergy’s total revenue coming from the east coast.
“For us, it was a very easy choice and a good opportunity to get good people as well as talk to very big customers,” he said.
Leading had about 120 staff across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane at the time of the asset sale to Synergy. The administrators made all employees redundant on November 13, and Synergy is now in the process of re-hiring. Cappendell said he’d met with all staff in Melbourne and was looking to make offers across all three Leading offices.
“I’m not sure of how many right now, but we will be hoping to have that piece closed off by the end of the week,” he said. “Customers and staff have been through a difficult time preceding and during the administration process – our concern is to ensure customers are looked after, and supply is reinstated. We need to do this with integrity.
“I’m happy to be judged on how the integration goes.”
Like former Leading Solutions CEO, Frank Colli, Cappendell stressed the loyalty of the integrator’s staff and said that was one of the key elements which drew it to the deal in the first place. There is also some customer overlap.
“It’s not a dissimilar business or culture to ours, and they will be a good fit if we can attract them across,” he said. While reluctant to go into detail, Cappendell said any outstanding entitlements to employees are expected to be paid out of incoming debtor funds from Leading’s administrators.
Synergy’s purchase comes 18 months after the two organisations originally struck a merger agreement. Although the deal failed, Cappendell was convinced the combined organisation could be successful and profitable going forward. Notably, Synergy has not taken on Leading’s debts as part of the transaction.
“We’re at a tipping point in the market – we’re seeing more consolidation and we want to be involved in that,” Cappendell said. “We are trying to grow and make a statement to the market. We’re working on getting the business profitable and the service levels right, along with our managed services offering and leveraging the Synergy capabilities across the country.
“There is a lot of work to do – this is a big step in that direction and we needed to act.”