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View from the C-Suite: A Calculated Mover - Scott Stavretis, CEO of Acquire BPO - PULSE CENTRAL
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View from the C-Suite: A Calculated Mover – Scott Stavretis, CEO of Acquire BPO

By Sandy Frinton, PULSE Editor

Scott Stavretis is a risk taker but he doesn’t make any big moves without first calculating all that potentially can go wrong.

“When you make decisions, understand all the complications and the worst-case scenario,” he says. “If you can live with that, work as hard as you can and go for it, and take on as much as you can.”

Managing the bottom-line when it comes to risk is the best business advice Stavretis says he’s ever received, and the award-winning perpetual entrepreneur has followed it throughout his two decades of founding and leading tech businesses.

Inspired by his own father who ran several small businesses, Stavretis has a successful track record in capitalizing on industry opportunities that began when he started the first Internet service provider (ISP) in Australia at the age of 16.

In the two decades that have followed, Stavretis has been involved with starting, buying, selling, acquiring and running more than 10 companies in telecommunications, sports betting, consumer electronics, 3D animation and outsourcing. (See At a Glance).

In 2006, he co-founded Acquire BPO in response to the lack of offshoring providers for call center services. Today as the CEO leading Acquire’s growth and future vision, Stavretis is keenly focused on helping the company’s customers achieve their desired outcomes.

In the past 12 years under his leadership, the Melbourne, Australia-based firm has become a trusted business process outsourcing provider across a wide range of industries including telecommunications, banking financial services, insurance, media, education and retail.

Acquire BPO operates ten state-of-the-art contact centers in Australia, the Philippines, the U.S. and the Dominican Republic employing over 7,000 professionals, and its future growth opportunities are focused on the North American marketplace.

Its services include customer service, sales, technical support, retention campaigns, network operations, back-office functions, software development, marketing and automation services for private and publicly listed companies around the world.

Stavretis talked with PULSE about why he loves about his job, the food he tries to eat everyplace in the world, the evolution in BPO over the past decade and the impact of automation on outsourcing.

Tell me about your role as CEO of Acquire BPO.

I have two main focuses. The first is internally on our people, values and strategy. The other is working with our clients to understand their problems and get results. A big part of why I love what I do is that I get to talk to other CEOs and C-level executives across a wide range of industries about their challenges and how we can bring our business experience to help solve their problems using offshore resources and technology to achieve their goals.

How has your company and the industry evolved over the last decade?

A lot has changed at Acquire over the last 12 years. When we were starting out, outsourcing was very much around costs and leveraging offshore labor rates. There weren’t a lot of deep connections with clients. The approach has changed. Now it’s about forming strategic long-term relationships with our clients and helping them improve their business processes and operations, whether its inbound customer care, digital functions, business analysis, back-end processing, accounting, automation, etc.

What are the growth areas?

We are still seeing growth in the back-office functions (payroll, accounts payable and receivable, marketing). Software development continues to grow in our industry and will long-term. A key focus growth area is automation and data intelligence.

What impact will automation have?

Automation and intelligence, like robotic process automation, will continue to grow.  A lot of companies are moving to automated processes and our clients have to be competitive on the same cost basis as their first-mover peers if they are not the first mover already. In the short term, automation will cannibalize the people side of our business. That is a big challenge right now for the outsourcing community, especially the publicly listed BPOs. Thankfully, as a private business, we’re able to aggressively cannibalize our own revenue if it’s the right thing to do as we don’t have to worry about quarterly reports to shareholders.

My background as an entrepreneur has helped me to be able to talk to CEOs across many different industries. All our leaders at Acquire have the same mindset and we have quite broad experience. This helps us understand the challenges our clients are having. We’re there to help them achieve their business outcomes and having that background certainly helps.
How has your background as an entrepreneur helped you grow Acquire BPO?

My background as an entrepreneur has helped me to be able to talk to CEOs across many different industries. All our leaders at Acquire have the same mindset and we have quite broad experience. This helps us understand the challenges our clients are having. We’re there to help them achieve their business outcomes and having that background certainly helps.

What is the culture you’ve strived to create at Acquire BPO?

We’re a values-driven business. We hire, promote, reward and if need be, let go of people based on how they display and share our core values. A big part of my role and the role of our senior leaders is hiring the right people who share our values and investing in those people.

Who are your role models?

My biggest role model is my father who instilled a work ethic in me and shaped my values that I amplify to others. He had a big influence on my life. Another role model is my business partner Larry Kestelman who has taught me a lot about leading people.

What books do you like to read?

I like to read books that challenge the status quo and get you to think differently such as David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell. I also read books about specific areas I’m interested in like digital marketing.

What foods do you like to eat – at home and on the road?

I love modern Japanese and try to challenge myself to eat at all the Nobu restaurants around the world (current count is 16 cities). Italian is always a go-to staple.

Who are your role models?

My biggest role model is my father who instilled a work ethic in me and shaped my values that I amplify to others. He had a big influence on my life. Another role model is my business partner Larry Kestelman who has taught me a lot about leading people.

At a Glance: Scott Stavretis

Current roles:
  • Co-founder and CEO of Acquire BPO
  • CEO of SHORE Solutions, a Philippines-based sister company to Acquire BPO
  • Co-founder of Degunt, a cloud-based bookkeeping company
  • Founding Director of Yomojo, an Australian mobile phone business

 

Past experience:
  • 1996: Founder and Managing Director of Connect Direct Internet
  • 1998: Founder and Managing Director of iPlay
  • 2001: Chief Operating Officer and Group Managing Director of Dodo Australia
  • 2003: Group Executive Manager of Infinite Rewards
  • 2009: CEO and Founder of Bet247
  • 2010 and 2011: CEO and Managing Director of ClubTelco and Eftel

Personal Awards: 2018 Honorable Mention Customer Contact Leader of the Year, CCW Excellence Awards; 2017 Professional Services Executive of the Year, The CEO Magazine’s Executive of the Year Awards; 2017 Bronze Stevie Winner, Maverick of the Year, International Business Awards; 2016 Silver Stevie Winner; 2016 Regional Finalist, 2016 EY AU Entrepreneur Of The Year (Southern Region); 2016 Best ICT CEO of the Year nominee, International ICT Awards; 2015 Young Leader of the Year nominee, Asia CEO Awards

Residence: Melbourne, Australia



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