Longtime Mitel CEO announces retirement

Don SmithOn the same day that Mitel reported its financial results for its first quarter of fiscal 2011, longtime CEO, Don Smith, announced that he will be leaving his post once Mitel has hired a successor.

Smith had this to say about his departure:

“It has been a privilege for me to serve with a great team over the past several years. I will work with the board to ensure a successful transition of leadership at Mitel. The company remains focused on executing against our long-term strategic plan.”

Terence H. Matthews, chairman of Mitel’s Board, thanked the departing CEO for his contribution to Mitel:

“We want to thank Don for his many contributions and years of service to Mitel. Since his return to Mitel in 2001, Don and his team have overseen the transition of the company from a legacy (Digital) PBX company to one focused on IP communications, UCC, mobility and software. During his tenure, the company has grown from approximately $350 million in revenue in fiscal 2002 to $648 million in revenue in fiscal 2010 and expanded its portfolio of IP-based solutions. As we begin the search for Don’s successor, I am pleased that he will remain with the company as a member of our board of directors.”

During his tenure as chief executive at Mitel, Smith oversaw two corporate milestones that cannot be overlooked:

  • The US$723 million acquisition of Inter-Tel, a U.S.-based competitor and industry leader in providing communication needs for business.
  • The US$147 million IPO that Mitel closed back in April of this year.

I had the pleasure of conducting an interview with Don Smith in late-2009, and thought that his own words of advice would be a fitting way to celebrate his banner career:

“The most important thing at the end of the day is how you treat people. You need to be open about things – good and bad – and you need to ensure everyone knows the direction of the company. You have to recognize people’s contribution and be sure they ‘get it’.”