Peter Jones taking Data Select Global – but will he stick around?


Michael Garwood looks at the creation of Brandpath and Jones’ expansion plans for the Marlow-based distributor

News of Data Select’s planned expansion was something of a surprise.Perhaps even more of a shock,wasthatfounder/owner Peter Jones was the man leading its charge.

For years, Jones’ interest in the distributor has been a subject of contention. Indeed on numerous occasions his desires to sell have hit our own headlines,be it an internal management buy-out or to a,with respect,larger global organisation,such as Brightstar Corp,which fell through at the last.In truth,many felt Data’s days were numbered and from a PR perspective at least,the firm seemed to show little to no interest in portraying itself in any other light – choosing to keep its head down and get on with things.Lots of things it turned out.(presence in Qatar, Hong Kong, Montpellier, Chicago).

But that has,it seems, all changed.Data Select,or Brandpath,appearstotickall the right boxes for the modern business.Over an insightful two hours Brandpath CEO Richard Daly and Data Select SVP Roy Taylor set out their vision for a company that will be able to fulfil all of a major brand needs – everything from e-commerce to warehousing and distribution.

The decision by Jones to bring his core IT and telecom assets (Data Select,DSNS,Expansys and PJ Media) under a single roof makes perfect sense in terms of appeal (convergence) and financially (all under one roof). The cynic in me would speculate his actions may make it an easier and more desirable sell, but the positive feeling amongst its staff speaks volumes.

Jones’ presence on our visit to the firm’s relatively new Marlow offices was certainly notable, having been conveniently absent from our numerous previous visits.

Whilst expansion plans are a major part of the first future, Daly and Taylor made it explicitly clear it is not attempting to replicate some of its local ‘global’ deeper pocket rivals, such as Ingram Micro, Brightstar or Tech Data.

But its armoury, as a combined Brandpath entity, is something which would certainly give it appeal if put in front of any decision maker. And,as noted in the interview, Jones’ very presence and recognition across many parts of the world (particularly in the US and Middle East we’re told) will almost certainly open doors.

From a local point also,it’s refreshing to see a traditional UK telecom distributor taking the bold step of growing organically rather that go the way of many before it 20:20 Mobile,Unique Distribution,Phone Logistics to name a few names all now consigned to the history books.

How long the Data Select and Expansys brands will remain is anyones guess however at this stage, if I was a betting man I’d bet against more than a year. Regardless,it’s good to see theres still life in the old Dragon.