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New CEO to guide Hills 'back to growth'

29 Aug 16

Hills will have a new boss in place later this week, with chief operating officer David Lenz taking over the reins as chief executive officer from Grant Logan.

Logan, who was in the top job just 15 months leading the company through its ‘back to basics’ program, will continue as a consultant to the distributor to assist in the CEO transition and in completing some projects, Hills says. 

Jennifer Hill-Ling, Hills chairman, says Lenz, in his role as head of the Hills Building Technologies division,  has played a key role in the implementation of the company’s future plans. The company has been transforming itself in recent years from a conglomerate dependent on low margin, capital intensive steel fabrication, to a higher margin value-added distributor of security, AV and health technology products and services.

Hill-Ling says the company is now moving into its ‘back to growth’ strategy, with Lenz well positioned to focus on that strategy as the company moves forward.

“David has over 25 years proven experience in sales, business development, management and operational leadership across Australia and New Zealand, Asia Pacific and the global ICT market,” Hill-Ling says.

Hills initial 12 month contract will see him receive fixed remuneration of $350,000 per annum, with a ‘target variable pay’ of $200,000 per annum based on Hills ‘balanced scorecard’ and paid as 50% cash and 50% performance rights.

Lenz joined Hills early last year after seven years with Ingram Micro Australia, including five years as the senior director and general manager of the distributor’s enterprise technology business, and a year as the NSW state manager.

Prior to that Lenz had spent time with a number of technology companies including Hewlett-Packard and Novell, where he was the Asia Pacific director of sales and marketing for four years in the early 2000s.

While Lenz says the new role is ‘a great honour’ he admits the company has its challenges.

“There have been challenges, however I am pleased with the way our teams have responded and we are looking forward to building this great company,” he says.

Hills’ recently released FY16 results showed Hills returned to the black in the second half of FY16, with a $700,000 NPAT, in a move heralded as showing that the distributor’s ‘back to basics’ turnaround is gaining traction.

The company still recorded a net loss after tax of $68.3 million on revenue of $328.9 million for the year.

Hill-Ling paid tribute to outgoing chief executive Logan, saying the board was ‘most grateful’ for his time at Hills ‘especially for his role in helping restructure the Hills group and most recently for providing the guiding hand in helping consolidate the business through the back to basics program’.

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