Exclusive Networks Pacific managing director Jonathan Odria has decided to leave the company after 19 years in the business. His last day will be 31 January.
Odria has been a charismatic figure in the distribution landscape since co-founding WhiteGold Solutions alongside his two business partners, Dominic and Sharon Whitehand, in 2002. Twelve years later, WhiteGold was acquired by France-based value added distributor, Exclusive Networks.
The company's Asia Pacific senior vice president, Brad Gray, will manage the A/NZ business on an interim basis as the distributor scouts for a new leader in the region.
Speaking to ARN, Odria reflected on his business goals and achievements throughout the years, and on his decision that now was the time to take a break.
“I made a personal commitment to myself after the departure of my business partners in 2017 to continue as managing director for the Pacific region for a minimum of four years, that time has come to an end,” Odria said. “I am very proud of what we achieved together in these past years of my leadership.
“The business has evolved over the years, and we have had some great success and growth. Having been recognised at the ARN Innovation Awards as the Specialist Distributor of the Year for 2021 was a great way to sign off this amazing journey with Exclusive Networks.”
Odria said he’ll be taking a bit of a break, focusing on his family and friends before deciding on his next move.
“One of my passions is mentoring people, this is one area that I will continue to focus on as well as some personal hobbies such as investments,” he said. “There are a few personal goals that I will set and look at achieving over the next 12-24 months.
"Long term, if the right opportunity finds its way to me, be it an existing business or start-up, I might embark on a new journey but have nothing in mind at this point in time.”
Taking the first steps in starting up the WhiteGold business in November 2002 and eventually selling the business to Exclusive Networks were some of Odria’s proudest achievements.
“2014 was the year of some of my proudest achievements, more so the fact that I did this in partnership with my great friends Dominic and Sharon, that for me was just icing on the cake,” he said. “Mentoring, seeing staff grow and develop over the years within the business and watch[ing] them move into their next roles and excel, this has been an absolute pleasure to watch and has made me feel very proud.
“It’s about giving back and helping the next generation, through the knowledge and experience I built over the years and that gives me great joy and satisfaction.”
Key lessons Odria has learnt along the way involve being ready to adapt and pivot the business as challenges arise.
“Market conditions and mergers can have an impact on the performance of the business. A great example of this has been the challenges we have faced around COVID and supply chain constraints,” he said. “Being able to be agile and pivot your business to a work from home model, adapt securely all whilst ensuring your team is still proactive and motivated, this for me is certainly the key.
“People are your key to success. Ensuring that you hire right, nurture and develop your staff and provide a pathway is key to retaining the best people and being successful in business, and certainly at Exclusive we have such a dedicated and talented team which is the reason for the consistent success we have seen over the years.”