A fresh start for Genesis

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Some 10 months after leading a management buyout of voice and data service provider Genesis Communications from Dixons, former Motorola and Vodafone top man Graham Ward has announced plans for the business to sell 50 per cent non-mobile communications solutions within the next three years.

Judging by Ward’s impressive CV, spanning more than 20 years in the mobile industry, the target is achievable. In 1986, he joined Motorola as director of its mobile phone business, climbing up the ranks to become UK financial controller, then European financial director.

He then managed Motorola Telco, a service provider which was sold to RSL Communications in 1998. “It was an exciting time,” Ward says. “It was like riding a tiger; you could feel the power of the market’s growth.”

Ward joined Vodafone in 1999 as managing director of its then corporate sector, but was made redundant in November 2001 after a company restructure closed the department. He then immersed himself in a series of entrepreneurial start-up projects, including VoIP, application and service providers, and worked as a consultant for the likes of smartphone manufacturer RIM. While some of the ventures weren’t successful, Ward remains chairman of vehicle-tracking provider CMS and non-executive director of bulk mobile messaging provider Dynmark.

In February last year, Dixons decided to sell Genesis and hired Ward as a consultant in a six-month role to oversee the sale. However, he saw a lucrative business opportunity and initiated a management buyout of the company.

“Genesis offered the potential to try out ideas that had been running around my mind for 10 years,” he says. “It was too tempting to turn down. I didn’t originally intend to run a management buyout, but Genesis had good systems and a good customer base. There was potential to build, but not enough product differentiation.”

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