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Innovation Group Reorganizes

UK-based insurance systems vendor trims staff.

Following a string of acquisitions over the past two years, including that of Pyramid, HUON and MTW Corp. in January, May and July 2001, respectively, UK-based The Innovation Group (TiG) has restructured its leadership in its North American, Asia-Pacific and European operations. William Hickey, who was heading up North American operations, has returned to the UK, and Ed Ossie, who oversaw North American and Asia-Pacific operations, has relinquished responsibilities for the latter and will assume more direct control of the former.

Acquiring so many companies, many of which were of considerable size, resulted in an accumulation of infrastructure and leadership, according to Ossie, who arrived at TiG through the MTW acquisition. "While we pared back some of the leadership and tried to streamline the organization after each acquisition, we had probably never done the major restructuring necessary to make sure there were not too many leaders between the board and the customers," he says. In this, as in earlier efforts at post-acquisition restructuring, "we certainly took some very talented friends out of the business and separated with them."

Going forward, while maintaining offices in Danbury, CT, and Toronto, TiG is consolidating its US and Canadian operations so that "basically there's a leader for every customer relationship," Ossie says. Emphasizing the company's newly enforced economy, any TiG staffers not tied to a customer or prospective customer relationship will be those "in the back office doing finance, accountingor human resources."

Ossie defends the firm's aggressive acquisition strategy by saying that "the intellectual property and the people have come together and are delivering a great product." The firm remains "on the short list for a number of opportunities," and the North American market remains strong, he maintains. Nevertheless, the firm's strategy "may have been too aggressive for the market we walked into," Ossie admits. "We probably weren't ready for the downturn that has occurred over the past six to eight months."

The net customer benefit of TiG's reorganization will be a less hierarchical organization that will be able to face the customer more directly, with 80 to 85 percent of its former staff, Ossie asserts. "Another thing that has come with restructuring is a much tighter link between the research-and-development team and the customers," he says. "What the customer gets is an organization that's going to live or die exclusively on the customer's success and a global team that's in-tune with the their goals."

Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio

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