Mike Cox steps into Ed Vos’ shoes as CEO of OnX

OnX Enterprise Solutions of Thornhill, Ont. introduced Mike Cox as its new CEO on Thursday, replacing Ed Vos at the helm of the solution provider that ranked No. 5 on CDN’s 2012 list of the Top 100 solution providers in Canada.

A veteran of the Canadian IT channel who helped build OnX into the Canadian channel leader it is today, Vos left the company last month to pursue other opportunities. He was named CDN’s No. 9 Newsmaker of 2011 for overseeing a number of acquisitions in Canada and a key one in the U.S. – Agilsys Inc. of Cleavland, Oh. – that gave OnX a key platform on which to grow that U.S. business.

Cox came to OnX last year to run the U.S. business for OnX, building that Agilsys base into a wider managed services play in the U.S. market. A veteran of the channel, he had previously served for eight years as president and CEO of solution provider Logicalis Inc, overseeing six acquisitions and growing U.S. revenue from $170 million to $600 million. Before Logicalis he held several senior positions with HP, including as vice-president and general manager of North American sales for the business customer organization.

“When the opportunity presented itself to come and run the U.S. business for OnX I jumped at that, and when Ed chose to leave, the board felt I was the right person to step up and run the larger company,” said Cox. “I’m very excited about it.”

As he takes on the new role as CEO, Cox said he will also continue to run the U.S. business, relying a little more heavily on the U.S. leadership team. In Canada, Paul Khawaja has primary responsibility for the Canadian business as executive vice-president for Canada and COO of OnX’s cloud and managed services business. Cox will continue to be based at OnX’s Cleveland office, with frequent visits to Thornhill, Ont. He noted OnX will continue to be based in Thornhill, and three of the top five OnX executives are still based there.

Growing the company both organically and through acquisition will be a priority, said Cox, adding the company is definitely in invest and growth mode. In addition to continuing to grow OnX’s U.S. operations, he said opportunities in Canada as well as Europe – OnX has a UK office – will also be considered.

“(Deals would be) complementary to our existing footprint, business and portfolio,” said Cox.

He did mention he’d like OnX to be stronger in the networking space, to complement its legacy strength in the data centre market.

“Our challenge is getting sales people to represent our broad portfolio in a way that is accurate, correct and good for the customer,” said Cox.

OnX made a major investment in its Canadian business just over a year ago, spending $20 million to upgrade its data centre facilities here to Tier 3 status to target growth opportunities in the cloud and data centre with enterprise clients. It’s already paying dividends, said Cox.

“It’s a profitable business. We had new bookings in the neighborhood of $30 million last year total contract value in Canada, and we’ll do 1.5 times that in orders this year,” said Cox. “It made OnX a force to be reckoned with in Canada.”

It has allowed OnX to grow its managed services business, which Cox said is the fastest growing business for the company in both Canada and the U.S., with clients such as BlackBerry and eHealth Ontario. One strategy for OnX has been going deeper with these large enterprise accounts. Cox plans to complement that this year with an aggressive push in the midmarket.

“We’ll be bringing on new customers that want to look to a major player in the market to have their equipment hosted and managed, and our hope and expectation bringing on those customers for managed services is to be able to step in and sell them hardware and software too, and do the install, integration and professional services,” said Cox. “I think that growth engine for the company will be managed services. We’ll be able to take a complete portfolio to the customer.”

With an aggressive growth strategy, OnX may continue its climb up CDN’s Top 100 rankings next spring. It moved up to from No. 6 in 2011 to No. 5 in 2012.

“I wouldn’t be surprised to see us climb up a new notches,” said Cox.

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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