Serco names Dan Allen U.S. CEO; Ed Casey goes global

Serco Group PLC is launching a global transformation campaign and has tapped Serco Inc. CEO Ed Casey to lead the multi-year effort. His replacement in the U.S. is Former CACI CEO Dan Allen. Casey talks strategy and about Allen's hiring in an interview with Editor Nick Wakeman.

Serco Group PLC has launched a global transformation campaign that will shuffle the leadership of its North American business. The moves create a variety of story lines.

What might capture a lot of people’s attention first is the redemption of Dan Allen, the former CACI International CEO, who was forced out of that position in February after just a year in the position.

He has been named chairman and CEO of Serco Inc., replacing Ed Casey, who has been promoted as chief transformation officer for the global operations of Serco Group. That’s the second story line, as Casey will lead the One Serco initiative, a significant global strategic initiative to drive long-term growth for the company.

Casey led the North America business for eight years and took it from $400 million in revenue to $1.2 billion.

On the hiring of Allen as his replacement, Casey didn’t address his departure from CACI, but said that Allen was picked following a months-long search process.

“We interviewed a number of people, and when you go through these searches, you winnow down the candidates until you have a group of finalists,” Casey said. “All the finalists are qualified and capable or they wouldn’t have made it to that point.”

So, how does one candidate get it over someone else? “More often than not, it comes down to leadership style, culture and chemistry,” Casey said. “I think Dan has the right kind of leadership style to be an excellent fit for Serco, and he is someone who will be very effective in our culture.”

Allen and CACI apparently had to renegotiate his settlement package so he could accept the job, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings cited by the Washington Business Journal. Read Jill Aitoro’s story for more.

Allen will take over from Casey in early December after touring Serco globally to prepare to support Casey’s One Serco initiative.

“We want Dan to see first-hand what Serco can do around the world, the capabilities and qualifications we have elsewhere that he can leverage here,” Casey said.

The One Serco initiative is a strategic move by the company to better compete for larger, more complex projects by leveraging capabilities from across the entire international organization, he said.

Internationally, Serco offers a broad range of government services, including business process outsourcing, consulting, environmental services, health, transportation and welfare services.

In the United States, Serco North America is focused primarily on national security and intelligence, cybersecurity, cloud computing and outsourcing. The company ranks No. 35 on Washington Technology’s 2013 Top 100 list of the largest government contractors.

As an example of the kind of capabilities the company wants to develop., Casey cited the $355 million Virginia Department of Transportation contract that Serco won in May to manage the state’s transportation operation centers, the safety service patrols and create a state-wide advanced traffic management system.

In the case of the VDOT contract, “we had some inspired individuals that were thinking about that opportunity, and they knew we had done some similar things for other governments.”

As they pursued the Virginia opportunity, these individuals took what Serco had won in other parts of the world and tailored it to Virginia.

“Make no mistake about it, we would not have won that deal if we hadn’t leveraged our global capabilities,” Casey said.

But rather than rely on a couple individuals, what Serco wants to do with its One Serco initiative is to more systematically capture the global best practices, capabilities and experiences that are relevant across the markets that the company serves, he said.

“We want this to be more than a random event of a couple inspired individuals,” Casey said. “We want to make that information available to a broad population around the world so that anyone can leverage that information.”

That’s the growth angle on One Serco, but Casey is also charged with figuring out how to best use Serco’s economies of scale; for example, purchasing IT. “We shouldn’t be doing that through four different divisions, we should have a global contract to purchase all that,” he said.

Other large companies have made similar adjustments, Casey said. “This isn’t a road others haven’t gone through, but this is a strategically important time in our history and the impact we can have on the organization over time is significant.”

Over time is the critical phrase in that quote. Casey said this isn’t an initiative that will take 12 months or even eighteen months, but will last years.

“This is not a short-term plan or campaign to take out costs,” he said. “This is a program to raise the quality of service we provide customers. We have no doubt we’ll win those extra deals that will drive our growth rates, be more efficient and improve our margins over time.”

In addition to hiring Allen, the company has promoted Mike Plymack, senior vice president of Serco Inc.’s federal civilian services business group, to be chief operating officer, reporting to Allen.

He has run the civilian group for two years, leading operations focused on managed services, professional services, transportation management and learning/human capital solutions.