Vianet boss takes a step back to focus on development

CHIEF executive of Vianet James Dickson is stepping down to become the data monitoring company’s new executive chairman.

James Dickson

CHIEF executive of Vianet James Dickson is stepping down to become the data monitoring company’s new executive chairman. He will be replaced as CEO by Stewart Darling, the current chief operating officer.

As part of the succession planning shake-up, non-executive chairman James Newman will retire after seven years in the job.

Dickson, who joined the Stockton-based business in 2003, is looking forward to getting his teeth into his new role. He said: “I’ve still got a full-time executive role as chairman. The business is a lot more complex so it makes sense to have an executive chairman who is in the business every day.

“It allows me to focus on development work, including the work in the US.

“Basically Stewart has been in the wings for three years now and has done a lot of executive operational stuff, driving sales. It’s a natural progression.”

Stockton-based Vianet, which monitors data across the beer, fuel, vending and gaming machine markets, recently changed its name from Brulines to reflect its diversification.

Newman has been in place throughout the broadening out of the business from its core beer monitoring products and the group is now looking for a new non-executive director to take his place on the board.

Dickson said: “This series of board changes reflects the transformation of Vianet and the strategic changes that we have successfully implemented to become a growing provider of data management across a number of sectors.

“The board would also like to thank James Newman for his contribution to the business over the past seven years.

“James’s experience has been invaluable in guiding the business to this stage. The right corporate structure is now in place for the next stage of the group’s development and these board changes reflect this shift in focus to growth.”

Dickson has himself led the company for 10 years and incoming chief executive Darling joined the business in 2009, with primary responsibility for the core beer monitoring and vending operations.

Dickson said: “The business was founded in the mid to late ’90s and I joined in 2003. It had been taken private and I joined a few months later.”

He led a management buy-out in 2005 and the company was floated in 2006. Dickson admits the company today is very much his vision, although it was someone else’s idea to create the original beer monitoring equipment.

The recent diversification and growth of the business, moving into other markets and creating a one-stop-shop for garage forecourt fuel monitoring, was also driven by Dickson’s plans for the business.

He will now oversee the introduction of the flagship iDraught beer monitoring system in the US, where Vianet has teamed up with US beer dispenser company Micromatic, which will install and maintain the equipment.


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