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Eccleston looking for growth at Exclusive Networks

The recently installed UKI managing director views the market as one presenting opportunity for the business to grow

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When Paul Eccleston received a call sounding him out for the UK and Ireland managing director’s position at Exclusive Networks, his thoughts first turned to what he could bring to the role.

He had followed the Exclusive Networks story – a collection of local European operations being expanded into a global player that went public – but was keen to come in and make a difference rather than maintain the existing trajectory.

“Sometimes you hesitate to join a very successful business because all you can do is maintain the success,” he said. “If you want someone to just run the business, then it’s not me.

“The big, attractive and exciting thing for me was that it’s a great business globally ... specifically in the UK. We just finished a very strong year in 2022, and we’ve got so much more opportunity to grow and develop the business.”

Eccleston came in last September with a CV rich in channel experience, which notably includes founding Nuvias in 2015 as well as spells at Computacenter, SCC and TechData. He joined Exclusive from Zscaler, where he was vice-president of international channels and alliances, and is looking to bring some of the lessons learned during that career to bear on the UK and Ireland operation to drive growth.

“I have got a lot of thoughts and ideas about how we can develop the business, keep the momentum going,” he said. “I think there’s a lot we can do in the next two to five years.”

One of the areas he’s keen to focus on is service levels, looking to ensure that customer experience remains high even as the distributor expands its portfolio and reach.

“The UK and Ireland has been through pretty significant growth over the last couple of years and that continues,” said Eccleston. “I want to make sure the core service, the Exclusive service, is reinforced, sustained and supported so we can ensure the things that differentiate us in the experience of our customers are maintained, even as we grow significantly.

“One of the dangers is that you grow a lot and become a bit less specialised,” he added. “You grow a bit more and you become a lot less specialised. And then suddenly, you’re not specialised at all. We’re a very focused business. We’re going to maintain that focus in the segment we’re in, but we’ll also be very focused on maintaining a very high level of service and a very high level of value.”

Since he arrived in September, Eccleston has started to make sure the structures are in place to support the teams in the UK to make sure that ambition is realised.

Although this year is likely to be marked by economic challenges, the expectation is still for growth, and the firm benefits from not only operating in the cyber security space but being able to lean on a global organisation that is experiencing high levels of growth in the Americas and APAC.

“One of the benefits for the business is that it is very highly focused on the cyber security segment of the market, which has been in the last 15 years a very robust segment,” said Eccleston. “We would expect it to continue to be among, if not the, most robust segment in the market, as we’re still seeing very strong demand.”

“We’ve got to work on our business to make sure we execute as close to flawlessly as we can, in a space that is almost certainly going to continue to grow significantly during this year and beyond,” he said.

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