New AMS Leader Comes on Board

The new chairman and chief executive officer for American Management Systems Inc. didn't even make it to the office on his first day.

Instead, Alfred Mockett spent Dec. 3 in Toronto talking to customers.

"I want to understand AMS from the customers' viewpoint," he said during an interview between his sixth and seventh customer meeting. He had nine planned for his first day, mostly in the financial services industry.

Mockett succeeds William Purdy, who served as interim CEO and president since the retirement of Chairman and CEO Paul Brands. Purdy is still AMS president and has now become chief operating officer of the company.

Mockett, 52, was CEO of BT Ignite, the broadband and Internet services business of British Telecommunications plc.

Customer service is a top priority for AMS, Mockett said. He plans to invest resources into tracking and evaluating customer satisfaction.

The company has been rocked by two serious stumbles with customers in recent years. AMS had to settle a lawsuit for $185 million with the state of Mississippi. The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board sued the company for $350 million. The thrift board case was dismissed Nov. 30.

While none of his visits the first day were with government customers, Mockett said the government market is one of the core strengths of the Fairfax, Va.-based company.

"We are very well placed, especially with the civilian agencies," he said. AMS also does substantial work with the Navy and intelligence agencies.

For the nine months ended Sept. 30, AMS did $264.3 million in business with federal agencies, compared to $264.6 million for the same period a year earlier.

In the state and local government market, AMS had revenue of $222.2 million through Sept. 30, compared to $239.7 million in the same period in 2000.

Overall, the company's revenue fell from $951.9 million for the nine months ended Sept. 30, 2000, to $923.4 million for the same period this year.

The company's stock also has suffered. It was trading at about $15.39 a share Dec. 3, and over the past year it has ranged from a high of $25.04 and a low of $10.25.

Getting the company's growth back on track is a top priority, Mockett said. "We have to craft a compelling vision for the future," he said.

His goal is for the company's different sectors to grow at up to twice the rate of their respective markets, he said. Besides the government market, AMS also has units pursuing business in the new media and communications, finance, insurance, health care and energy markets.

In the government space, AMS is looking hard at homeland security issues, Mockett said.

The government has to connect databases, share information and analyze the information it collects. "That kind of systems integration work plays to our core strengths," he said.

About the Author

Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.

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