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Nextgen Distribution appoints Gavin Lawless as Australian managing director

Nextgen Distribution appoints Gavin Lawless as Australian managing director

New roles for Gavin Lawless and Scott Caulfield

(L to R): Scott Caulfield; Gavin Lawless; John Walters; Amarish Thakur and  Ashish Arnikar

(L to R): Scott Caulfield; Gavin Lawless; John Walters; Amarish Thakur and Ashish Arnikar

Nextgen Distribution has appointed Gavin Lawless as its first managing director for Australia, among other top line changes across the group. 

Lawless firstly joined Nextgen in September last year as the director of growth with a focus on potential growth opportunities for the business, including acquisitions. This focus will now fall into John Walters’ broader remit, who will concentrate on the whole strategy across the Nextgen Group. 

“We really thought we needed to take the business to the next level,” group CEO John Walters told ARN

“I will spend a lot more time driving the strategic initiatives at a group level, looking at any M&A activity and new vendor opportunities that make sense, while also making sure our core vendors are looked after at an exec level.”

Importantly, Walters said, he would like to give back to the business through developing in-house training courses for staff around topics on how to negotiate, build relationships and so on. 

“I want to make sure the culture and service level of our team has increased over time as well,” he said. 

On his newly created role, Lawless said the distribution business has been a well run ship, with a number of successful years throughout its nine-year operation and there were plenty of growth opportunities in the road ahead. 

During FY19, Nextgen saw revenues in Australia up over 20 per cent, cloud revenues up more than 30 per cent, with cloud annuity revenue streams stretching out to 2024. It also experienced growth within its Oracle business, a big coup considering the transitioning from three year perpetual licensing to 12 month subscriptions.  

“Growing vendors is key for us, while we keep on growing year-on-year it’s important to add more for our partners, which are always looking to obtain more and different technology,” Lawless said. “That’s key for us as well as keeping the ship going, I won’t be doing anything significantly different, it’s a great place to be.

“We will look to grow at least 20 to 30 per cent in the next three years, every year. That’s organic growth, at a revenue level. It’s a significant opportunity and the next three years are incredibly bright, and we’re collectively excited about the ride.”

Additionally, Nextgen CMO Scott Caulfield will now take on the extra role as managing director for Bang while continuing to retain his CMO position, and Martin Mason will resume the role of executive director and head of strategy. 

The group’s consulting business, Optima, has added Amarish Thakur as its executive director, who will work alongside Ashish Arnikar

Both Thakur and Arnikar each have a 15 per cent stake in Optima. The two have also previously worked together, with founding their own software consulting business, Advalora, and have also spent time working for KPMG.

“Some of our partners have advisory businesses and we’re working with them to ensure there isn’t any competitiveness. They can use Optima in conjunction with their current business, or if they don’t have enough feet on the street. Ashish and Amarish have some serious skill sets that some of our partners don’t have,” Walters said. 

Even though the business is firmly enterprise software focused, Walters highlighted other market opportunities elsewhere within areas such as data management, security, automation and infrastructure. 

“We’ll only bring on an infrastructure vendor where we feel it will add value to a deployment -- we don’t want to be seen as a box mover at all,” Walters said. “If you look at Arista, it’s up 60 per cent year-on-year with us, and HPE is also up over 60 per cent. There’s still some significant opportunity within the infrastructure businesses.”

On the merger and acquisition front, Walters said it was actively looking at ways it can add points of differentiation to the business. As well as distribution, the Nextgen Group also comprises Bang, Optima, Connect and Orbus Capital. 

“We’re not going to rush to buy someone. We’ve shown our hand clearly that we’ll make an acquisition where it makes sense and really differentiates us in the market,” he said. “The acquisition of Bang is a good example, where most people didn’t realise it, but look at what it brought to the table.”


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Tags John WaltersGavin LawlessNextgen DistributionScott Caulfield

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