As the Australian arm of one of the world’'s largest professional distributors of products and services for the energy world, Rexel Holdings Australia is drawing on its local and global expertise to re-energise its processes and strategies. Guy Picken, Managing Director of Rexel Holdings Australia, sat down with The CEO Magazine to discuss the evolution of this innovative company.

The CEO Magazine: How did you transform Rexel Holdings Australia since becoming MD in 2006?

Guy: Well, it’s a work in progress. The genesis, if you like, was bringing together all the assets in Australia under one-country management to build a stronger front in the face of rising competition. It was a positive move, not just from a commercial perspective but also from a communications point of view as it has facilitated a strong cross-working culture between the different Rexel brands and across different geographical locations. Many of the Rexel brands had not worked together before and probably hadn'’t wanted to work together —but there'’s nothing that galvanises people more than a common enemy!

We started off in 2006 in response to rising competition from a breakaway faction of the business, which allowed me to motivate the teams to work together, probably two or three years earlier than originally planned. We encouraged collaboration in order to reinforce our position and market offering. Following this, we decided it was a good moment to start integrating the businesses. That was a gradual process. Today, we only have one head office rather than the six or seven we had to juggle in the past. This has helped to simplify the decision-making process and vastly improved communication. After acquiring and consolidating three companies in 2007, we entered what I would call an evolutionary phase. Faced with a market and business dynamics that were changing quite dramatically, we had to learn to constantly evolve our business strategy to keep ahead of the curve.