Joachim Lauwers has almost twenty years of experience in telecom. “I worked for around ten years in an acquisitions environment,” he says. “I did a number of things, from operations to marketing. I came into contact with the b2c and b2b market. At Tele2-Versatel, I was responsible for the launch of a b2c unit. That was really exciting, even if it was just because you were starting with a blank sheet. But my heart’s in business-to-business. You can have more impact there. In a b2c environment you go out there with general campaigns, the importance of marketing is higher, but there's less personal impact. I like to build something up. That’s why I feel most at home in growing businesses like Destiny.
What motivated you to move to Destiny?
JOACHIM LAUWERS. “Growth was definitely part of it. When I arrived here six years ago, 17 of us could generate 4 million euros in turnover. Now there are 220 employees in Belgium and the Netherlands, and the expected turnover for this year is 65 million euros. But that wasn't the only thing that attracted me. This is a company with a number of values. One of them is the empowerment of the people. And it's easier to do that in a growing business”.
You played a number of roles at Destiny before becoming Managing Director last year.
LAUWERS. “Initially, I was responsible for marketing and sales, but three years ago I focused on operations. That change is possibly somewhat atypical of someone with a technical background, but it is in line with my character. I also find it important as Managing Director to be able to draw on that experience. As a provider of cloud solutions, our service is technical, but you have to understand exactly what the customer wants as well. That mix is a significant value added”.
What stands out when you look back on the past year?
LAUWERS. “A good part of our growth came from acquisitions, but you have to be able to keep combining that with organic growth. Acquisitions shouldn’t disrupt operations. Good integration is important. As a result of the strategic acquisition of Fuzer and Escaux this year, we became the market leader in cloud communications in Belgium, accounting for 150,000 users. I am very proud of this acquisition, because it further reinforces Destiny’s role as the most important challenger in the b2b market. However, when you make an acquisition you also have to consider the culture of the company you're taking over. We should only take the step when we’re convinced that the company’s culture is a fit with ours.
Where should we expect you to be in a few years’ time?
LAUWERS. “I want to double our turnover in three to five years. But the growth has to be healthy. Our corporate culture should never be affected. Satisfied employees are part of that. Anyone who comes to work here knows that he’s joining a genuinely entrepreneurial company. We expect people to take the initiative. Like many companies, we have a hard time finding the right employees. It’s no coincidence that the people from the acquired company usually stay on board. We have five to ten vacancies to fill at any given time. But when we find the right people, they mostly stay here”.