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“We’re really good at what we do.”: James Rigby

Forming 80% of Rigby Group, SCC is very much a family business. James Rigby recently took up the position of CEO EMEA, as part of a succession plan involving his father and brother. “We created the position of EMEA CEO last year. I appointed a UK CEO and a French CEO alongside myself,” James explains.

James Rigby, CEO of SCC EMEA

“I’m also Co-CEO of Rigby Group along with my brother, Steve. Sir Peter Rigby, the Founder and Chair is 77, and although he hasn’t retired, Steve and I have stepped forward to run the business on an executive basis with him as Chair.”

Despite the obviously close-knit nature of these top three executive positions, a culture of promoting from within the business means that there are plenty of other opportunities for staff. “Pretty much all the executive appointments we’ve made have been from within the business. We like to grow our own talent,” James says.

“I think most people in the company would say that being able to see that progression and opportunity, and that career path, has been really important to them. I know many people who’ve started in relatively junior positions and are now in very senior roles.”

More of the core

James says that the future for SCC is about doubling down on core activities, after simplifying the Group over the past couple of years. “We’re doing fewer activities than we did before and sticking to the things that we’re really, really good at that support our customers’ challenges and deliver business outcomes,” he explains.

Pretty much all the executive appointments we’ve made have been from within the business. We like to grow our own talent.

The Group will also stay private, so that all profits can go back into growing the business. And that growth has actually been fuelled by COVID-19 accelerating remote and hybrid working. “We’ve seen that customers need our help more than ever because of the pandemic,” James says.

“Our customers who might have taken three or four years to transform have had to do that in 12 months, and they need our support.”

That help can range from the very basic infrastructure requirements of networks and communications, including laptops and security for working from home, to the more complex needs of more advanced clients such as cloud and artificial intelligence solutions or the Internet of Things.

“It really depends where the customer is on the journey, but our job is to help them be successful through the use of technology,” James explains.

While the pandemic has driven growth in the technology sector, there has still been a lot of uncertainty, and James believes that being a privately owned company has allowed them to negotiate the period with faster decision-making.

“There was very little data or forecasting and none of us knew what would happen,” he recalls. “Like every big business, we had to shape our company within a matter of weeks on a bit of news and gut feeling. I think the fact it’s a private company helped us make decisions very quickly.”

Greater awareness

The two biggest challenges for the company going forward now are creating awareness and having deep enough pockets to keep up with rapidly changing technology. James is confident they can do both.


“We have low levels of customer turnover, and there are many customers we have who trust us with all of their IT infrastructure, from end-user devices to networks and hosting their data,” he says.

“The challenge for us is to keep growing the business and taking that story out to new clients. As a private business, we’re not in the media all the time with our results, so we always have to try much harder at marketing and brand awareness. Also, as we’re in technology, we need to constantly change and keep adapting, and that means investment. It can mean a difficult P&L situation for a while when you’re investing, but you know it’s the right thing for the future.”

Despite that focus on technology, James and his family are very aware of the need for decent people – both internally and as partners.

“You can never forget people,” he says. “Technology plus people is the magic. We’ve got the right people, the right technology and the right service capability to make the right choice for our customers – to ultimately meet their business demands.”

SCC also feels closer to those customers than many of their competitors. They’re a big company, but they retain the family values still. “Lots of our competitors are massive global businesses where you’re one of thousands of clients,” James says.

“What we try to do at SCC is combine a large company capability with a feeling of proximity to the customer, and lots of customers tell me that they feel important to SCC.” It all adds up to a very capable, friendly and safe pair of hands for a client’s digital journey.

“You’ve probably never heard of us,” James laughs. “But we do this for hundreds of large companies day in, day out. Perhaps we don’t shout about it enough, but we’re really good at what we do.”

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