Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ovum telecoms chief to leave

It’s all change at the top of Ovum’s telecoms team.

Earlier this week, Chris Lewis, senior vice president (SVP) of telecoms research, announced that he was leaving the company.

He joins a number of other senior analysts who have moved on recently or will be leaving shortly.

Martin Garner, head of wireless and mobile research, is setting up his own firm but will continue to work for Ovum on a freelance basis.

Mike Cansfield, head of fixed telecoms research, is joining Forrester Research.

Other departures from the telecoms team include Marta Muñoz Méndez-Villamil, Annelise Berendt, John Delaney and Jonathan Arbor.

In an email exchange last week (about an earlier draft of this post), Rosemary Masterson, Ovum’s operations director, was able to provide some thoughts from Mark Meek, the new Datamonitor CEO and managing director of Ovum.

“Ovum provides a high quality syndicated offering which is based on highly collaborative teams, not just individuals. We are continuing to recruit for people in both research and consulting who want to be part of a dynamic commercially focused team.”

The company has decided to promote internally to replace Chris, Martin and Mike.

Brett Azuma is replacing Chris as SVP. He will also maintain his current role as head of the carrier networks & technology practice.

Based in the US, Brett doesn’t have a very high profile in Europe. However, he has over 20 years industry experience and was previously chief analyst for telecommunications at Gartner.

Reporting to Brett will be four practice heads:

Jeremy Green takes over mobile strategy while Jan Dawson picks up fixed telecom strategy.

Richard Mahony and Michael Philpott continue to run the enterprise and consumer teams respectively.

Ovum is also hiring externally. Jonathan Doran is joining the consumer team. He’s currently a senior analyst at Yankee Group where he covers broadband access and service strategies for the consumer market. There are more “senior” hires in the pipeline.

As you’d expect, Mark is bullish about Ovum’s future prospects: “Last week, I set out my vision for a business whose commercial success will be driven by its people and the best-in-class content they produce for its clients. This message applies not just across Ovum but the entire Datamonitor Group.

“Post Datamonitor's acquisition of the Ovum business, there were many challenges as to be expected with the integration of two public organisations. The major elements of these have now been addressed, including putting the underlying financials of the business on track and Ovum profits and sales growth are currently tracking at historic highs.

“Moving forwards I will be focusing the attention of the management team on people retention and morale. We've had some staff turnover but there are many good people still here who want to see the Ovum business succeed.

“Datamonitor continues to invest in Ovum, rolling out its interactive content delivery platform, the Knowledge Center, which is now live with our clients, and are resolute in maintaining the respect the Ovum brand commands in the marketplace.”

Given the volume of change in such a short space of time, Ovum’s great reputation in the world of telecoms research has undoubtedly taken a hit. Many of the departing analysts are held in high regard in the market.

However, there remains a lot of good will towards Ovum and there are many who hope these changes are just a short-term blip.

It’ll be interesting to see how Brett and his team now respond. There are plenty of folk out there watching to see what happens next.


Anonymous said...

You paint the picture pretty rosily. From what I can see, the list you highlight represents a significant exodus of senior people on the telecoms side of the business, and this follows a similar stream of departures on the IT side. Is it not more accurate to say the company has been pretty much hollowed-out?

David Rossiter said...

Anonymous, it's going to be a challenging time for Ovum's telecoms practice. I'm not going to disagree with you on that.

Brett is going to have to show some strong leadership skills to ensure that Ovum maintains its reputation in the market.

There's some good people leaving - but there are some good people still there.

Ovum is obviously changing as a result of the Informa / Datamonitor acquisitions - in terms of people, research output and (if you listen to the new MD) commercial success.

There's an interesting discussion to be had. If you want to talk about it, drop me an email. I don't plan on debating with you as an anonymous commentator though...It's impossible to know if you have an agenda to push or a relationship to protect.

Anonymous said...

Great posts David and Dom. I linked to them at What’s happening at Ovum? David and Dom discuss

Duncan Chapple said...

I wrote up some thoughts on this after attending the leaving drinks for some former Ovum colleagues a couple of weeks ago. It's clearly a result of management actions...

Brett certainly has enthusiasm and skills for this role, but can he play the same role as Chris Lewis while remaining based in California?

Ovum is certainly not hollowed out, but nothing suggests that the flow of talent out of the firm is finished...

mike said...

Greatest post.