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New Synchronoss CEO looks to put nightmare year behind it

Synchronoss MWC 2016

The appointment of Glenn Lurie – the former head of AT&T Mobility – as CEO is the culmination of yet another strategic overhaul by Synchronoss.

If we gauge a public company’s health by its share price the last 12 months have been a car crash for Synchronoss. As you can see from the Google Finance screen grab below the company has lost 77% of its value over that time which, according to this analysis by Seeking Alpha, is due to a combination of accounting irregularities and the botched acquisition of Intralinks.

Synchronoss Google Finance screen

Synchronoss completed the acquisition of enterprise messaging firm Intralinks for $821 million back at the start of the year and was so pleased with its acquisition that it promptly installed its CEO – Ron Hovespian – as the boss of the whole resulting company. Within three months, however, Hovespian was shown the door, leading to another share plunge.

The rest of the year was spent talking to private equity firm Siris capital, which had presumably noticed how much the share price had fallen and thought it spotted a bargain. The culmination of all this was a deal to sell the newly-acquired Intralinks to Siris for $1 billion as well as an investment of a further $185 million.

Lurie’s appointment, announced late last week, seems also to be positioned as an attempt to draw a line under the misadventure of the past year and give Synchronoss the credibility to sell its latest new strategy. This is focused primarily on its white-label personal cloud business, which already has a number of prominent CSP customers, including BT. Lurie’s extensive experience overseeing the consumer side of a big operator is being framed as ideal for this direction.

“Glenn is a highly accomplished, transformational and well-respected leader with a proven track record of success and innovation in the telecommunications industry,” said Stephen Waldis, Synchronoss Chairman. “Glenn’s knowledge of the wireless and media space, broad industry relationships and operational acumen are second to none, and make him the ideal leader to drive the next chapter of success for Synchronoss.

“I have worked closely with AT&T for many years and have seen firsthand the profound impact Glenn can have on all aspects of a company, especially his ability to launch innovative new businesses and products. Glenn also brings a strong reputation for his people first leadership style and ability to take his teams to the next level of success. Along with the rest of the Synchronoss Board and management team, I am excited to welcome Glenn and look forward to working alongside him as we execute a more focused business strategy that builds upon our footprint and expertise in Cloud, Messaging and Digital Transformation.”

SNCR CEO Glenn Lurie Nov2017 1Telecoms.com spoke to Lurie (pictured) to get his perspective on his new role. He was especially keen to talk up the consumer cloud space, stressing that the increasing amount of digital products and content we all have on a variety of different platforms offers a great opportunity to help with the management of it all. This means not only offering a portal for easy access to your stuff regardless of what device you happen to be using, but also allowing it to be easily shared. Lurie referred to this paradigm as “the agnostic family cloud.”

So the plan seems to be to double-down on the personal cloud space and seek further growth by offering its white-label solutions to other verticals beyond its traditional CSP hunting ground. “We will be much more broad in our products and services as well as who we offer them to,” said Lurie.

In the lexicon of corporate strategy, the opposite of diversification is focus. Synchronoss had a go at diversification over the past year and that seems to have gone badly. There was nothing wrong with its white-label cloud business, however, and Lurie’s appointment is being positioned as a refocus on that. As ever, only time will tell how successful this latest roll of the dice is going to be.

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