News & Resources


A Leader's Perspective - Alan Threadgold

A Leader's Perspective with Alan Threadgold

The Group Leader role at Vertus Group is the main point of contact between Vertus Group and the independently run businesses we own. Group Leaders act as a sort of business "coach" to our portfolio companies. They offer guidance, share best practices, and help give businesses fresh opportunities to grow.

Group Leader Alan Threadgold joins us to discuss his career journey, how he balances overseeing multiple businesses, and what to expect from the Vertus Group acquisition process. With over 27 years in leadership roles, Alan is a valued mentor to our businesses leaders, giving them the guidance and autonomy to flourish in their own careers. 



Read the full interview: 

Tell us about your background.

My background is quite varied. I started in the insurance industry and spent 19 years there working for two different companies in a variety of roles. I moved into leadership back a long time ago in 1997, so I’m coming into my 27th year in leadership roles.

I left the insurance industry in 2005 and became Club Manager at a lovely Club in Ireland called Brey Golf Club. I spent 10 great years there before I got the opportunity to join Jonas (Vertus Group’s parent company) in 2015. Initially, I was based out of London as General Manager for Jonas Club International. I moved to Toronto for a year as VP of Operations before the acquisition of Bookassist. When that happened, I moved back to Dublin, my hometown, and I’ve been based back here ever since.

People often ask me about the various sectors I’ve worked in and how I moved from insurance to golf, to software, and for me, leadership is the same across all industries. It’s about the people, the customers, the financials, the strategy, and the vision for the business. You don’t have to be the expert; you just have to create the foundation for the experts to do their business. I’m really there to make them successful.


What interested you in becoming a Group Leader?

I suppose when I joined in 2015, I didn’t see that as the path for me, but I’ve been very fortunate with the opportunities that I’ve received. As you immerse yourself in the Vertus Group and what we do across all of our CSI companies, you’re learning every day, and you see opportunities. If you’re as ambitious as I am, you want to take those opportunities and one of those opportunities is to become a leader of multiple companies.

I’ve been very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with a great group of people and I look forward to growing and expanding the number of companies that work under me. It certainly wasn’t something if you asked me in 2015 that I thought I’d be doing, but it’s been a great journey so far and it’s one of the brilliant opportunities we have as part of the Vertus Group.


What was it like going from overseeing one company to two?

When you’re looking after multiple companies you need to understand that it’s different strategies for each business. The key job for us, whether you’re running one company or two companies, is to run great companies. We are an acquirer, but our first role is to make sure the businesses we run are successful.

With Bookassist my role is more of a day-to-day role because I’m CEO there as well as being Group Leader. With the Vizergy business, I have a great leadership team that is involved in the day-to-day, so I’m a little more distant from that. I’m there as a support mechanism in both businesses. I trust the leadership teams, so it allows me to step away and let them take responsibility for what they are there to do. For me, it’s about oversight, being a coach, being a mentor, and ensuring the strategies that we set as a group are implemented and that we do everything to make those businesses as successful as possible. If we do that, it creates a lot of opportunities for the people in those businesses.


What does your day-to-day look like as a Group Leader?

Part of the time is metrics, another part is financial performance, and another is strategy, so it’s very much about identifying opportunities in the business and looking at people who are coming through them. We acquire businesses, so we require a lot of future leaders, and a key part of my role is identifying these potential leaders.

Part of my day is learning as well and understanding our businesses, but there’s no strict calendar or schedule that you do every day. Every day is different.


What is rewarding about your role?

We acquire businesses and I as the Group Leader am entrusted with the responsibilities of those businesses. These businesses bring legacy with them.  We’ve got owners who entrust us with the future of their business that they put their blood, sweat, and tears into growing and have gotten to a successful place. I then am responsible for making sure that the business has a future and that the legacy of the founders is continued.

Another part of it is ensuring that there is a future for the people who work in the businesses. I’m very fortunate to have 160 people working for me in the two businesses I have responsibility for. Many of those people are ambitious and they want opportunities. Each year the business is successful it gives you a sense of pride because when the business is successful that means the people are successful and we’ve got more opportunities coming for them.

I’ve got to meet great people both in the businesses that I run and within Vertus Group, the Jonas operating group that we’re a part of, and the wider CSI organization. We’ve got fabulously talented people and that’s been huge in terms of my own personal development with the people I’ve got to spend my time with and learn from.

It's one of the great things within our organization that there is so much sharing of knowledge and best practices. It has been very rewarding and a great opportunity.


What is challenging about your role?

When we’re looking at acquiring businesses, we spend a lot of time doing diligence and trying to understand the business. But as much as we spend time doing that there are always things that we don’t come across until we actually own the business and we get involved, so you have to be flexible and ready to roll with the punches when unexpected things happen.

We’re in technology so there are always challenges in terms of roadmaps, where we are developing, and our strategy for the business, but you have to be open and transparent with your team about challenges. We have a wealth of experience and a lot of people we can reach out to discuss the challenges that are there, but sometimes it's nice to bring your team together to try to solve it your way. If it was all good stuff, anyone could do it!


What does the integration process look like for a business joining Vertus Group?

In terms of what may change, one of the main things we look to do is centralize the finance and HR functions of businesses. Outside of that, a lot doesn’t really change. We don’t go in to drastically change what has made the business successful, what we look to do is bring our best practices to make them even more successful.

We don’t want to go in and change the culture and rip the heart out of the business. We’re not there for short-term change and short-term gain, we’re there for the long haul. So, for a lot of people working in the businesses, they don’t see drastic change.  There’s always a fear factor when businesses are acquired with what is going to happen, but certainly for Vertus Group we are not there to make significant change, we’re there to give the benefit of our knowledge and experience.

These businesses are already successful in their own right. They’re got to a point where we wanted to acquire them and thankfully the founders wanted to sell to us, so it’s not right for us to go in and make significant change. One of the key things that make those businesses successful is their culture, and we have no right to go in and rip that apart. We need to work with the people and support the culture that has made the businesses successful. It’s about building on the success of the business, not changing it.


What excites you about the industries you work in?

I’m mainly focused on hospitality, which is a very significant sector in the business world. There’s a huge expanse in terms of technology across the industry so there are a lot of new young players coming into the market with very innovative products. One of the challenges is how all these products come together to assist hotels that are very focused on their customer journey.

It is certainly a sector that has bounced back following COVID. There’s been a lot of opportunity and growth in the past couple of years and certainly, all the signs are very strong that Hospitality will continue to grow over the next year or two. So it’s an exciting industry to be involved in from the position of an acquirer because many companies are coming into the industry at the startup stage. It’s wonderful for us to see how those businesses move along and it certainly keeps the current incumbents on their toes!


What are the benefits of selling your business to Vertus Group?

Vertus Group, being a part of Constellation Software, means we are a buy-and-hold forever acquirer. We’re about today, we’re about tomorrow, we’re about the future. We’re not here for short-term gain, we’re a safe home for businesses because we’re going to hold them forever.

Vertus Group is about protecting the legacy of the business and providing opportunities to the employees. We continually acquire businesses, look for leaders, and aim to provide them with sound futures. For me, the key is that we are buy and hold, and we provide that security to the vendor and their team.


What advice do you have for someone who is selling their business?

The vendor needs to know what they want and what their expectations are. What are the key elements for them? Is it about price? Future? Protecting the legacy of their business? They need to be very clear on that, take a step back, and look at what their expectation is as part of a sale process.

It’s also a two-way process. Often when we get into these acquisition processes there’s a feeling that it’s about us learning about them, but it’s very important for the vendor to learn about us and learn from us. In many conversations, it can become educational and a learning process where we share experiences, so I would say don’t be afraid to ask questions and learn from the process itself.


What excites you about Vertus Group’s future? 

I think there’s just endless opportunity. We’re in a wonderful time from a technology perspective. There are many companies out there that potentially can be acquired. We also have some amazing young leaders who are going to be future business unit leaders and group leaders. It’s just an exciting time to be part of an organization that’s constantly growing.

Vertus Group has a very strong future ahead. It’s going to be good times and for a lot of people, it’s going to be a great place to be a part of.


Learn More About The Acquisition Process

Tagged In:

Related Posts