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DSGi Business names Birbeck as latest boss

Microscope contributor

DSGi is bringing across the boss of its PC City operation in Spain to help turnaround its ailing UK reseller arm DSGi Business.

Next month Phil Birbeck will become the first full time managing director at DSGi Business since Jerry Roest exited the company in late 2008 and was followed by interim heads Martin Dorchester and more recently James Welsh.

In a note to staff this week, DSGi chief executive John Browett confirmed Birbeck will take on the role on a "permanent" basis from 1 February, reporting directly to services director Sebastian James.

The appointment is clearly designed to bring stability to the reseller, whose sales declined by almost a third in the first half of its fiscal 2010. This morning it revealed revenues over Christmas dipped 5%.

Like many firms in the last 18 months, DSGi has been on a cost-cutting offensive to hack £200m in overheads over four years: restructuring operations, embarking upon a redundancy programme and only last month closing Equanet's Surbiton office.

Sources close to the company describe Birbeck as "dynamic, well regarded and with a good understanding of the B2B markets" and said that his appointment on a permanent basis was the right option.

However some are not sure that parent DSGi is committed to its reseller business long term.

"Birbeck has to make it more attractive for potential buyers, stabilise the ship and ensure that the new budget is starting to be delivered and it gets back into profit. One of the obvious solutions has been to cut headcount," said a source.

On the positive side, DSGi Business is understood to be again trading with some of the larger distributors in the UK that had decided to cut and run when credit insurers downgraded their exposure.

As a result of Birbeck's appointment, Jorge Benlloch, operations director at PC World, will move to Spain as managing director of PC City and James Welsh will leave the group to become finance director at A&N, the online division of the Daly Mail.

Birbeck joined DSG in 1989 and moved to PC World in 2000, becoming operations director three year later with responsibility for all stores as well as in-store B2B operations. He became business development and strategy director in 2007 before moving to Spain with PC City in March 2008.

 

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