Henley to exit Alphawest

The 15-year veteran and CEO will exit the Optus-owned integrator at the end of the month

Alphawest CEO, Garry Henley, will exit his post at the end of January after 15 years of service.

Two years after the integrator was acquired by SingTel/Optus, Henley told ARN the time was right to re-evaluate his career path. He is planning to travel for a few months while considering his next move.

"The company is growing so fast and it could do with new blood," he said. "It's a difficult decision. I won't be going to any other networking integrator as I firmly believe in the business.

"I'm not talking to headhunters - I want to have some time off, recharge and think about what else I want to do."

Henley joined as director of communications networking provider, Integral Solutions, in 1992, which Alphawest acquired in 1994. He spent the next six years holding various executive roles within Alphawest.

In 1999, Henley was appointed managing director and oversaw the sale of the Alphawest business to Solution 6 in May 2000. After leading a management buyout of Alphawest from Solution 6 in August 2002, Henley assumed the CEO's role. The integrator was fully acquired by SingTel/Optus in October 2005.

Henley said Alphawest had nearly doubled in size since coming under the telco's wing, growing from 450 to 800 staff.

"The customer base has expanded, particularly upwards. It's better than we hoped for," he said. "There are plenty of challenges and the market is tight, but it made good sense, particularly at the high end of the market where telcos have substantial agreements with customers, to extend their carriage services with IT. The biggest challenge is meeting market demand."

Henley attributed the successful integration of Alphawest into SingTel/Optus to the fact that the business ran separately. At the time of the acquisition, Optus chose to shift about 150 of its staff into Alphawest and has kept the integrator's independent identity.

"The key thing was to make Alphawest the ICT vehicle," he said. "The focus was to leverage two go-to-market models by going through the existing Alphawest sales team as well as Optus' sales force. We've tried to be as consistent as we could be while ensuring we have the right level of management reporting to the Optus leadership team."

Henley pointed to its management buy back in 2002 as one of the more exciting highlights, but was most proud of Alphawest's transition into a national integrator.

"We've gone from a Western Australian business with 30 staff to the eighth biggest ICT business in Australia [according to IDC]. It's a fantastic achievement," he said. "We've still only scratched the surface and are still growing."

Henley said Alphawest has appointed an internal staff member as its interim CEO while it hunts for a permanent replacement. No other structural changes have been announced.