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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Applied Insight names new CEO, other exec moves

Applied Insight is entering a new stage of its development as a mid-tier player in the market and is revamping its executive suite.

CEO John Hynes has swapped out that title to become executive chairman, and chief technology officer Dede Dascalu is now the CEO.

Those changes set off a cascade of the appointments: Benjamin Laibson has taken on the new post of chief product officer; Adam Gruber, former director of engineering at aiLabs, is the new CTO. New hire Josh Tambor is now the chief financial officer.

The shifts say several things about the company and how it has developed through a series of acquisitions backed by private equity firm The Acacia Group.

Besides Tambor, all the shifts are promotions from within. When you couple that with the fact that Dascalu, Laibson and Gruber came to Applied Insight through different acquisitions, you see a company culture that is embracing its acquisitions as well as looking inward for key leadership positions.

The shift of Hynes from CEO to executive chairman is also a sign of a maturing culture. Applied Insight was spun out of Intelligent Decisions in 2018. Hynes joined the company in 2019 after it had made its first acquisition of Organizational Strategies Inc. Since then the company made three more acquisitions: Stratus Solutions, Applied Technology Group, and Digital Age Experts.

Counting the original spin out from Intelligent Decisions, Hynes was faced with the task of integrating five different businesses.

“My focus has been on pulling together these five acquisitions into one integrated culture, not just five separate businesses,” Hynes told me. “We’ve made great progress.”

The company has a strong portfolio of cloud services offerings including intellectual property around its SHIFT and ALTITUDE products.

“The time is right for Dede,” Hynes said.

Dascalu came to Applied Insight through the acquisition of Stratus, where he served as CEO.

Hynes move to executive chairman also marks a shift in Applied Insights priorities for growth. The company is moving away from being an active acquirer in the market.

“We like our portfolio, so our focus now is on organic growth,” he said.

Hynes role going forward will be on strategy, supporting relationships with executive customers, and acting as a sounding board for Dascalu. “I’ll be doing coaching and mentoring. I love that we hired from within to make these changes,” he said.

Dascalu said no one should expect huge changes now that he is CEO.

“We are not making a 180-degree turn,” he said.

The company will remain focused on growing as a mid-tier with strong intellectual property and that means that aiLabs will remain the heart of the company as it builds on the IP it has in SHIFT and ALTITUDE, he said.

“We want to lead with that in the market,” he said.

The other executive shifts reflect that focus.

Laibson, the new chief product officer, and Gruber, the new CTO, are co-directors of aiLabs. Laibson’s responsibility will be to mature the capabilities coming out of aiLabs and moving them beyond the prototype stage. “Ben will have the maturity roadmap,” Dascalu said.

Gruber’s focus is on developing capabilities as well as training. “There will be a lot of collaboration between them,” Dascalu said.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Mar 11, 2020 at 9:40 AM

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