Jeff Fox's Circumference Group Keeps Focus on Investments, Growth

by Gwen Moritz  on Monday, Mar. 11, 2013 12:00 am  

But in 2011, as Convergys began to execute Fox’s strategy of divesting non-core business lines, the company made back those losses and then some. Net income that year of nearly $335 million (including revenue from division sales) was followed by net income of $100.6 million in 2012.

“Strategically, we have completed the simplification of our company into a well-capitalized market leader in customer management,” Fox told investors and analysts in a conference call after third-quarter earnings were announced at the end of October.

Not One-Trick Ponies

Not all companies need the CG “focus, simplify, execute” model, Fox said.

“Don’t take from this that we think companies have to be one-trick ponies,” he said.

“Companies can be big enough to be in multiple lines of business,” he said, mentioning GE under former CEO Jack Welch and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. as companies that have successfully diversified their business lines. “But each of those businesses needs to be the best that it can be.”

Alltel was a company that long had distinct business lines — both wireline and wireless telephone and the information technology division that Fox left Stephens Inc. to run in 1996 — and it eventually divested the wireline and IT divisions before being acquired by Verizon.

“Companies can expand their footprint successfully,” Fox said. “But when they miss, it can make it hard for investors. And that creates opportunities for investment or for the consulting business.”

Even as he talks about the value the Circumference Group hopes to bring to its investment partners and its consulting client, Fox takes care not to oversell.

“The minute you start acting like you know something, the world is going to teach you a lesson,” he shrugs. “We are a good partner for folks with capital, and we are a good partner for people who are trying to operate.”

Circumference Group Management Team

Jeff Fox, Founder
BA, Duke University at Durham, N.C., 1984
Investment Banking, Stephens Inc. and Merrill Lynch, 1984-96
Group President, Alltel Information Systems, 1996-2003
Group President, Alltel Shared Services, 2003-07
Founder, Circumference Group, January 2009
Convergys Corp. of Cincinnati, CEO 2010-12; Executive Chairman, 2012-present

John Haley, President
B.A., Washington University at St. Louis, 1977
MBA, University of California-Berkeley, 1983
Business Development, Alltel Information Services, 1996-99
Managing Director-Asia, Fidelity Information Services, 2004-10
Circumference Group, September 2010-present

Chris Smith, Director of Consulting
B.A., University of Arkansas at Little Rock, 1981
Southwest Region President, Alltel Corp., 1997-2000
EVP of Network Services, Alltel, 2000-09
Founding Partner, Circumference Group, January 2009

Holly Larkin, Chief Operating Officer
B.A., Hendrix College at Conway, 1994
J.D., Vanderbilt University at Nashville, Tenn., 1997
SVP of Corporate Governance, Alltel Corp., 2006-07
Treasurer, Alltel Corp., 2007-09
Circumference Group, September 2010-present

 

 

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