lkka Tales is a man on a mission.
His goal: to build a nationwide IT and telecommunications service provider that will be the biggest and best known brand in the SMB market, metro and regional.
A glance at his stellar track record shows he has a good chance at succeeding.
Born in Finland and schooled in Blacktown, Sydney, Tales (pictured) went backpacking in Asia after university and in 1990 fell into a role as chief financial officer for Telstra's Vietnam offices.
Five years later he helped a Philips startup in mobile phones set up back offices in Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines before being promoted to run distribution and business development in the Asia Pacific.
The outfit, Philips Consumer Communications, grew through a series of acquisitions from zero to 15,000 employees globally within three years.
By 1998 Tales was living in France and working as Philips' director of global customer services. In 2000 Tales returned to Australia and ran a listed company called Mobile Innovations, Vodafone's direct marketing partner. He then founded Engin, the broadband telephony business, and is also a founder of MoGeneration, a pioneering Australian iPad and iPhone development business.
After selling out of Engin in 2007 Tales returned to Europe to help a friend buy six companies in six months to build a 900-employee mobile software company called Myriad Group, which Tales says is now in the top 20 IT businesses in Europe.
Tales' last stint in Europe gave him a lot of experience in planning and integrating acquisitions and running investor relations. It set him up for his return to Australia last year when he was invited onto the board of Hostech, the publicly listed reseller which was acquired by Anittel.
In November Anittel made him managing director with the brief to drive growth aggressively, which he has carried out with gusto.
Anittel has made eight acquisitions in the past year and has plans to make more. The reseller grew to 230 staff and $22 million in the 2010 financial year, a 310 percent increase.
Tales' reputation in the telco industry is complemented by that of Anittel's chairman; Peter Kazacos. The man behind one of Australia's best-known enterprise integrators, Kaz, which was sold to Telstra and then to Fujitsu Australia, has plans to do it all again in the SMB market (see breakout on following page).
Next: Time of the telcos
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Issue: 347 | March 2016