Ex-Tesserent CEO Julian Challingsworth named Spirit MD

Ex-Tesserent CEO Julian Challingsworth named Spirit MD

Follows Sol Lukatsky’s departure.

Former Tesserent CEO Julian Challingsworth has taken over the reins at telecommunications and IT service provider Spirit. 

According to Spirit, Challingsworth will bring a “strong professional services and corporate finance background” to his new role as managing director. 

Challingsworth would be on a salary of $400,000 per annum and be required to purchase $75,000 in Spirit shares each year, the company said.

"The Board is very pleased to appoint Julian Challingsworth as MD and CEO,” Spirit chairman James Joughin said.  

“Julian brings a broad range of skills and background to lead Spirit through its next phase, and we look forward to Julian’s leadership in the next stage of the company’s strategy.”   

Challingsworth spent three years as Tesserent CEO before he resigned and stepped down in November 2021. 

During Challingsworth’s tenure at Tesserent, he led the publicly listed company through a number of acquisitions. 

Five acquisitions were made in the first half-year of the 2021 financial year: Ludus, Airloom, Seer, iQ3 and New Zealand’s Lateral Security. 

In March 2021, Tesserent acquired Secure Logic’s managed security services provider (MSSP) unit in a $22 million deal and subsequently made investments in cyber security start-ups TrustGrid and AttackBound. 

Challingsworth also helped spearhead Tesserent’s Cyber360 strategy, expand its New Zealand footprint and consolidate its portfolio of acquired companies under its own brand name. 

At Spirit, he will take over from Sol Lukatsky, who joined Spirit in 2018 as its chief sales and marketing officer. A year later, he stepped up as managing director, taking over from co-founder Geoff Neate. 

Before departing on 3 July, he oversaw the business’ divestment of its direct consumer business activities and its communication tower portfolio, which the statement referred to as “capital-intensive”, and its subsequent refocus to small- to medium-sized business (SMB) enterprises. 

Earlier this year, Spirit merged two of its business units together in an effort to save costs, increase margins and boost customer experience. 

Since Lukatsky’s exit, Julian Haber has served as interim managing director. On 1 July, he will revert back to his previous  role  as CEO of Intalock, Spirit’s cyber security business. 

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