Oakton COO Parker departs

Oakton chief operating officer Steve Parker has left the IT services firm just a year after he joined it from the top ranks of local rival Unisys.

Oakton chief operating officer Steve Parker has left the IT services firm just a year after he joined it from the top ranks of local rival Unisys.

The company today confirmed that the executive had left, but was unable to say whether he resigned or was asked to leave. Like many other Australian technology firms, Oakton has recently been laying off staff.

Parker was the Australia and New Zealand managing director of global IT services Unisys until the smaller company Oakton acquired him in February last year as chief operating officer. Unisys did not comment at the time on the loss, but local results had suggested that the company was suffering a lack of growth.

The new role at Oakton was considered to be a similar position to that which Parker had enjoyed at Unisys, with Oakton CEO Neil Wilson planning at the time to step back and take a more strategic role (including looking for acquisition targets), leaving Parker to run the company's everyday operations.

Oakton had begun to be more cautious with head count in October, when Wilson said that the company would slow down its hiring of staff due to economic uncertainty. At the time he said the company intended to reduce its exposure to the finance sector and focus more on government contracts. Oakton's clients have included Sydney Water, ING direct, Customs, Victoria Police and AGL.

Parker's departure could signal a return to a more operational role at Oakton for Wilson. It comes on the back of the company's disclosure in late January that its October through December 2008 period had been weaker than expected due to the financial crisis and reduced federal government demand for services.

The company is slated to make its half-yearly earnings announcement tomorrow, at which it has said it will give an update on what actions it has taken in light of the problems.

Neither Wilson nor Parker were available for comment at the time of publication.