In pictures: The most controversial people in Australian IT

These Australian IT personalities have all made headlines during 2009, for one reason or another. ARN has compiled this list to give you a visual shapshot of this year's biggest stories.

  • #6 Michael Malone, founder and managing director of iiNet – Thanks to the copyright court case that AFACT has taken against iiNet, Malone has emerged as something of a hero in the eyes of many, as the entertainment industry continues to struggle with the issue of digital piracy.
  • #12 Lindsay Tanner, Minister for Finance and Deregulation – The man responsible for the Government’s Razor Gang and Gershon report into ICT procurement and spending has had a massive impact on the ICT industry in 2009.
  • #7 Gerry Harvey, founder and chairman of Harvey Norman – The outspoken Harvey has long been a contentious voice for the retail market. This year, his comments on the health of the industry through the economic climate was one such example.
  • #2 Peter Mavridis, founder and managing director of S Central – The merger between ComputerCorp, S Central and Synergy Plus made headlines in March, but proved an even big news story after it collapse. The subsequent fall of S Central, and the controversies that sprung up following its asset sale to Brennan IT, cements Mavridis a place on the list this year.
  • #9 Stuart Smith, Cellnet – Arguably, the decision to cut back its IT distribution business by exiting the PC market was made by Cellnet’s former MD, Stephen Harrison. But since then, the distributor’s latest managing director had sold off its entire IT division, posted a $10.2m annual loss, and now reorganised the company to focus on retail and telco business streams. Expectations that the company will return to profitability in the first half of the financial year could well prove him right.
  • #10 Rod Vawdrey, Fujitsu – Fujitsu has made significant moves to build up its presence in Australia during 2009, led by CEO, Rod Vawdrey. The pinnacle of its efforts was acquiring Telstra subsidiary, Kaz, in March after months of tough negotiations. It quickly followed up the deal by acquiring SAP consulting partner, Supply Chain Consulting.
  • #8 Senator Nick Minchin, shadow communications minister – Thanks to the Internet filter, anyone who stands opposite Senator Conroy in the Senate is going to be riding on waves of controversy. However, Senator Minchin created some controversy of his own during the recent Liberal Party leadership battle and positioning over the Government's Emission Trading Scheme by resigning from his post.
  • #5 Sol Trujillo, former managing director of Telstra – After finishing up his tenure with Telstra and on returning to the US, Trujillo made the claim that Australia was a ‘backwards nation’ – a neat soundbyte that aptly demonstrates the relationship Trujillo (and Telstra under him) has had with the Australian public.
  • #4 Kim Denham, former CEO of the Australian Computer Society – John Grisham could probably do something with Denham’s story. Earlier this year, the ACS announced Denham was taking her former employer to court in a case that has remained quiet to the public on details.
  • #11 Jay Miley, managing director of Ingram Micro – Miley’s first 12 months in the managing director’s role at Ingram have been jam-packed. Early this year, the distributor announced it would close its Adelaide and Canberra branches, as well as make several redundancies, trimming its headcount by 7 per cent. It also rebranded its Solutions Group to the Enterprise Technology Group. By May, Ingram had acquired point-of-sale distributor, Vantex, to build its retail offerings. In June, it closed its niche communications division and in July, celebrated 10 years in the Australian market. By September, the distributor had opened a $6 million datacentre facility for resellers and dropped its national expotech trade show in favour of the new Virtual Expotech. Last week, the distributor announced a realignment of its sales teams to its Enterprise and Volume businesses. The latest changes will see the departure of commercial sales director, John Walters.
  • #1 Senator Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy – If the Internet filter wasn’t enough, Senator Conroy’s evasiveness with answering questions posed to him by the media and public has left many frustrated with the Rudd Government.
  • #3 Frank Colli, founder and former managing director of Leading Solutions – Leading was one of the big players with upwards of 200 employees. While his staff supported him to the end, Colli was unable to save the organisation from voluntary administration in October, resulting in one of the biggest channel company exits in 2009.
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