Logicalis CEO Mike Cox Named VARBusiness 500 Exec of Year

Mike Cox has transformed Logicalis into one of the fastest-growing enterprise solution providers.

Since becoming Logicalis' CEO two years ago, Cox has not only steered the company--one of HP's largest enterprise partners--back to profitability, but into a systems-integration firm with an aggressive growth strategy that includes expanding its IBM business. As a result, Cox was named Executive of the Year at Tuesday night's VARBusiness 500 Awards ceremony in New York.

Logicalis ranked 104 on the 2005 VARBusiness 500 list, released this week, up from 111 last year. Since joining Logicalis, which was previously known as Logical, revenue increased 75 percent. According to this year's VARBusiness 500 ranking, Logicalis' revenue was $363 million, up from $200 million when he joined the company three years ago, Cox told VARBusiness, just moments after receiving his award. Moreover, bottom-line growth was up 300 percent last year and is on pace to grow 65 percent his year, Cox said.

Now Logicalis is on a plan to grow revenue within the next year or two to $750 million in the United States and $1.25 billion worldwide, Cox said. The growth plan kicked into gear last year when Logicalis acquired Solution Technology Inc. (STI), one of IBM's top 10 business partners.

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And to further its presence in the IBM camp, Logicalis in March acquired Eisco Technology, a $20 million supplier of IBM zSeries mainframe solutions. Cox said Logicalis is looking to be a full service provider of HP, IBM, EMC, Cisco, Microsoft, Veritas and Sun solutions. The company will continue to make acquisitions that will help meet those strategic growth goals, he said.

"Our goal is to exit this fiscal year at a $500-million-a-year run rate," Cox said.

When Cox took over as CEO two years ago, he came at a time when Logicalis, like many solution providers, was trying to dig out from the post-Internet bubble crash.

In a move to quickly restore profitability, Cox, who spent 12 years at HP, said he let go 50 of some of Logicalis highly skilled service people.

"It was a post-bubble reality that had to be done," Cox said. "It was painful, and I hate that, because my objective is to make this company a place where people can build a career."

Also, making the transition from HP to becoming a solution provider was more difficult than he had anticipated.

"I thought that I knew the channel because I had worked at the manufacturer, and I worked with the channel," Cox said. "But I didn't really understand it until I got over here; it is quite a bit different."

As business started to come in ebbs and flows, Cox began using more contract employees rather than salaried workers.

"Now everyone is 80 percent utilized," Cox said.

Cox attributed his Executive of the Year Award to the employees of Logicalis.

"It really is an award that is deserved by our whole company," Cox said. "One of my focus areas was making sure that I got a management team in place that worked together, and we truly have that."