Syntegra appoints old boys club

Systems integrator and wholly owned subsidiary of British Telecom (BT), Syntegra Australia, has called in four high-flyers to advise the company on its future direction.

The company has appointed an advisory board which will meet four times a year. The board is comprised of John Studdy, current chairman of Channel 10 and Mercantile Mutual; Alex Henderson, member of the Australian Industry Group and former MD of James N Kirby; Tom Elkington, Liberal Party advisor and lobbyist; and Sam Walters, CEO of the Australian Central Credit Union.

The four advisors will provide counsel to Syntegra and its managing director Rick Greengrass. And while Greengrass argues the advisors will not be "out touting business for us", Syntegra is looking to leverage its experience and contacts within its respective fields. The four men represent four key growth areas for Syntegra's future: entertainment, financials, government and manufacturing, confirms Greengrass.

The advisory board will receive a "small fee" from their position on the board which, in effect, performs a role similar to a non-executive board of directors, says Greengrass.

The formation of the advisory board is in response to Syntegra's legacy as a government supplier before BT purchased the company, then known as First State Computing, in 1995 claims Greengrass. He believes the board will effect a shift towards a corporate focus, but will still maintain a strong government customer base.

"[These gentlemen] haven't been in the technology industry, they've all used technology but they just haven't been in the industry so I think they are really excited," says Greengrass. "The big issue facing businesses these days is merging their e-business initiatives with their bricks and mortar business. So we're bringing their experience in traditional business to systems integration."