Former Accenture Partner Tappen Takes Helm At Strategic Services Highflier NWN, Aims To Accelerate 'High Touch' Cloud Model


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Skip Tappen
Skip Tappen

NWN President and Chief Operating Officer Skip Tappen, who has helped shape the services culture at the CRN Solution Provider 500 powerhouse for the past dozen years, has been promoted to CEO.

Tappen, who before joining NWN spent 14 years as a consultant and partner at Accenture, takes the top job as NWN, No. 68 on the 2016 CRN SP 500, moves aggressively to accelerate its "high touch" cloud services sales march under private equity owner New State Capital Partners.

A driving force behind the "it's all about the customer" and "business is a team sport" culture at NWN, the soft-spoken Tappen takes over the CEO role from NWN founder Mont Phelps.

[Related: NWN Steps Up 'Phone Company Of Future' March With Acquisition of Cisco Contact Center Superstar Collabramind]

Phelps, a formidable industry figure who architected the strategy that took NWN from a small Waltham, Mass.-based solution provider into a $350 million national technology services power, plans to remain active focusing on "strategy, strategic acquisitions and relationships" with NWN customers, partners and employees.

In the internal memo announcing the succession, Phelps praised Tappen as a key figure in "developing and executing" the NWN vision over the past 12 years. "Today, we are well positioned and a force in the industry. I wouldn’t want to change places with any other company in our market, and Skip is the ideal leader as we scale NWN for the future," said Phelps.

Tappen, for his part, said he sees the new role as a natural extension of what he has considered his job from day one at the company – "helping out" or enabling the NWN "team to be the best we can be."

"I have always had that philosophy," said Tappen. "I see this as just another opportunity to do just that – knock down the roadblocks so the team can operate successfully and service our customers."

A  University of Vermont mechanical engineering graduate who still teaches skiing to young children, Tappen said he sees part of his job as continuing to nurture the strong NWN culture of "teamwork and putting our customers first."

Tappen's top priority as CEO: "putting the pedal to the metal" on the company's fast-growing cloud services business, which has been doubling in size year over year for the past five consecutive years.

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