Not a corner office...
15 December 2010 |
Brady Rafuse was appointed CEO of EUNetworks in 2009, and began the business’ transformation to a bandwidth infrastructure company. Here he shares his experiences with Capacity.
My job's about leadership. It's about motivation and having a view of the future. You need to believe in particular areas and go after them. We believe that latency is going to be incredibly important to everybody. EUNetworks has high-density last mile fibre networks in 13 major European cities, connected with a long-haul intercity backbone linking the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Germany. We have between one and six 432-fibre cables in every city; with six cables, we can pull 15,000 fibres into cities, and that's a lot of traffic. These are numbers I can understand. In 2009, we completed the first phase of our new London network build-out, and lit more fibre in the network. This is contributing to our growing success serving the financial services segment with high-performance and ultra-low latency networking solutions.
What do I consider my job to be? To set and articulate strategy, motivate and inspire key talent, and make sure there's money in the bank – and of course that's not original thought. There are other things too, like communications and delivering budget, but those are the key things. Communicating with the team to explain what we do is absolutely fundamental to my role. I have worked on this to the point where engineers tell me, “I went home last night and told my wife that we've gone EBITDA positive.” They might not know exactly what it means, but they know that it's a good thing and they know exactly what they did to contribute it.
We have worked very hard to stabilise the business, and it's growing at a good clip now. We've also worked very hard on our customer service, building sales presence and getting the right frameworks in place. When I look at what's happening in the US, I'm very bullish about our industry; though probably quite a lot less bullish about the European economy. But I'm very happy that 50% of our assets are in Germany. I see a lot of organic opportunity for us, particularly in fibre to the tower and FTTx.
I'm not interested in the corner office or a chauffeur or any of those things. I'm interested in a business with strong assets that I can understand and get my hands around. We have brought the right people in, worked hard and put a lot of processes in place. We've introduced performance management, employment surveys and clear values. Values are very important to me in terms of what we care about and what we believe in. It scares the living daylights out of you some days, but it's a real business – it's about setting the right vision and a strategy for success, delivering it and having fun while you do it.
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