What’s your name and what do you do?
Tod Perry – and I’m the Chief Operating Officer and Co-CEO at OnlineDIRECT
Where were you before OnlineDIRECT?
Prior to joining OnlineDIRECT I was at E.ON, where I joined them with their group innovation strategy and helped establish their Strategic Venture Co-investment fund in Germany. From there, I relocated to the UK to become Head of Meter Operations managing nearly 800 people around the country installing smart and classic meters, and, most recently, was Head of SME Sales in the U.K.
Had you always worked in energy-related industries?
Not at first: I’m a scientist by training – and Reverend (but that’s a story for another time). While completing my Ph.D. in Microbiology & engineering at Harvard University, I started to take an interest in innovation and entrepreneurship and then when I finished by PHD, I worked at Harvard Business School for a while developing a curriculum on commercializing clean energy technologies. This research, and the desire to live in Colorado, led me to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory where I worked on developing supporting economic development, and domestic and international strategy energy innovation strategy and policy development.
What brought you to OnlineDIRECT?
I was introduced to Gary Styles quite a while ago and was impressed by the passion he described in the people at OnlineDIRECT and the determination and creativity he has. Having been an investor, I did my diligence and it revealed a company that has continued to grow financially for 20 years, and occupied a unique space in the UK energy market – I saw an opportunity to add value to an already successful business by bringing my operational experience, with a view to drive customer service and efficiency through the organization, and to continue growing the topline while solidifying the bottom.
Have you faced many challenges?
My family are based back in the US, so I’m splitting my time between the UK and the US, and I spend a lot of time on planes which is a challenge in itself. I usually arrive in the UK and launch straight into a weekly operations meeting, where managers from each part of the organisation have a forum to share results, best practice and set objectives for the week. Setting up the Monday meetings was one of the first things I did, as a way of setting expectations for everyone, ensuring focus was on the right things, and that each department kept sight of the company goals, so that we all pulled in the same direction. Change can be difficult for people. but we’ve improved on our company structure, hired some brilliant new talent, and promoted the existing. We’re in a good place right now, and its only going to get better.
What’s next for you and OnlineDIRECT?
OnlineDIRECT are focused on ensuring a successful future for our partners. We’re finalizing our five-year strategic plan, and whilst I can’t say too much until its published, what I can tell you is that we’re investing a huge amount of time and money to ensure we offer B2B sales professionals unrivaled service and support. We’ve tailored new solutions to suit all business types, developed unique training packages to help new brokers and long-established brokers maximize their potential. We’ve restructured the business to ensure customer service are at the center of everything we do for our partners. OnlineDIRECT have spent 20 years forging strong partnerships, and we will continue to do so for another 20 at least.
An Interview with Tod Perry – COO and Co CEO