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By Nick Wakeman

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He's back! Former Stanley CEO returns with new firm

I’ve been waiting for two years to hear the news that Phil Nolan, former chairman, president and CEO of Stanley Associates Inc., was jumping back into the federal market.

This morning, the private equity group Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe announced they were backing a new venture, Galeos Group to the tune of $300 million. Nolan will be the company's chairman and CEO.

While many former Stanley executives have moved to other companies--most notably George Wilson, who is president and chief operating officer of Electronic Consulting Services--Nolan has pulled in some of his former colleagues, including COO at Stanley, James Brabston, and Randy Brooks, who led Stanley’s defense business.

Both Brabston and Brooks stayed with the legacy Stanley business after it was acquired by CGI Group in 2010 for just over $1 billion.

Brabston was a senior vice president and general manager of CGI Federal’s defense and intelligence business, and Brooks was a group senior vice president leading the Army and defense intelligence business.

The fourth member of Galeos management team is Joe Cormier, who is the executive vice president and chief financial officer of Sotera Defense Solutions Inc.

I’ve interviewed Nolan several times as Stanley grew rapidly. While he wasn’t a founder of the company, there were only a handful of employees when he joined. He told me that, if he needed something, he’d just lean back and shout.

The company had about 20 people, and by the time he sold the company, it had 5,000 employees.

I recently wrote about his management philosophy and how CEOs need to look beyond the current year as they guide their companies. So, while I’m sure he’s paying attention to the fiscal cliff and sequestration, I doubt the concern is a high priority.

With $300 million, an acquisition or two is in the works; in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if a deal is announced before the end of the year, or early in 2013. A letter of intent is probably already signed.

That's entirely my speculation, but why else announce the formation of your company, and that you have $300 million to spend?

Given the background of Nolan and his team, they’ll probably focus on a defense or intelligence acquisition. It’ll also be interesting to see what exactly they buy, and what they are staking out as their area for growth.

I’ll also be curious where their headquarters will be. When Stanley outgrew its offices in Old Town Alexandria in Northern Virginia, they moved to the Clarendon area of Arlington, Va.

Nolan told me that their criteria for a new office included the requirement that it be walkable to bars and restaurants.

It’s good to have Nolan back as an active participant. It’ll give me an excuse to call him. He was always good for straight, no nonsense insights into the market. And those are always my favorite kinds of stories.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Dec 03, 2012 at 7:24 PM


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