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By Nick Wakeman

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TASC revs its strategy engine

TASC Inc.’s hiring this week of Randy Phillips as its first chief strategy officer got me thinking that the company is getting ready to accelerate its merger and acquisition activities.

Just look at his resume:

At Computer Sciences Corp., he led more than 25 transactions, with more than $3 billion in revenue.

At Alcoa, he led global growth initiatives at the U.S., Europe, Africa and Asia.

He also helped orchestrate TRW’s acquisition by Northrop Grumman.

But TASC CEO David Langstaff told me that the hiring isn’t just about acquisitions. More on that later.

Langstaff runs the company with what he calls a team-based leadership approach, so that strategy development falls across a broad group of people.

Randy Phillips

TASC Chief Strategy Officer Randy Phillips

“Our strategy has a lot of people’s fingerprints on it, as it should,” he said.

That approach will continue, but Phillips, who also will carry the title of senior vice president of corporate development, will coordinate those efforts.

“When you look at his back, he knows our space and he is just considered one of the best,” Langstaff said.

Gathering the best people has been a top priority for Langstaff since becoming CEO in March 2011.

In addition to Phillips, other notable recent hires include Keith Littlefield as chief technology officer. He is the former CIO of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. The company also hired Rick Howard from Verisign and iDefense as its chief information security officer.

You can scroll down through their press releases and see multiple other top-draw hires in the last two years.

But turning back to mergers and acquisitions, I asked Langstaff if TASC will be more aggressive with dealmaking going forward, with someone like Phillips on board. The company acquired TexelTek, a company with cloud, network consolidation and virtualization, data analytics and cybersecurity capabilities, in June 2011, but hasn't made any deals since then.

“In this kind of market, with this kind of turmoil, there are opportunities,” Langstaff said. “We’ve always been interested in M&A, but the gap between seller expectations and real value has been too big a gap to bridge.”

Over the past year, the company has looked at a lot of potential acquisitions, but didn’t close any, he said.

But now, the gap seems to be closing. “There may be more M&A in our future,” Langstaff said.

Stay tuned.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on May 08, 2013 at 7:24 PM


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