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Former OCSL leaders acquire UK cloud services specialist

A growing cloud service provider is to be created after two industry veterans acquired a controlling stake in the UK's Marathon Professional Services. The new owners sold IT services firm OCSL to Germany's Cancom in August 2018.

Tim Thrower, former MD and founder of OCSL, has become chairman of Marathon. He said: “After 28 years with OCSL, I was looking to make a move into a business with massive potential for growth and a passion to succeed. With Marathon we have a shared determination to lead the way in a managed services market that continues to accelerate and evolve.”

Iain Maclean, who worked alongside Thrower on the board of OCSL as project services director, joins as Marathon CEO. He said: “More than ever, businesses are faced with the need to make swift yet fundamental changes to infrastructure, with an increasingly remote workforce. It has never been more important for in-house IT teams to have access to Marathon’s flexible, scalable know-how, so that they can make transformation happen while they concentrate on their wider business objectives.”

Marathon founder Paul Hepburn will continue as a shareholder and becomes CTO in the new structure. He said: “I am partnering with Tim and Iain to lead the Marathon team, we’re looking forward to working with our clients to increase our support for their businesses.”

Hepburn started Marathon in 2010, born out of a long-standing relationship with London Marathon Events, to provide IT services for the international annual race. Alongside its sporting division, the services business at Marathon has grown steadily, and today the firm delivers a wide variety of large-scale IT projects.

Cheam, Surrey-based Marathon is a long-standing Cyber Essentials Plus Practitioner and the first company to be accredited as a Digital Services Provider on the Police PDSC Certification scheme, announced this February. It provides cloud services through both Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

The new owners say they will use Marathon as a vehicle to grow further in the dedicated IT and managed cloud services market. Other companies are also set to be acquired through a holding company that they control.

The value of the Marathon acquisition has not been disclosed. West Sussex-based OCSL had over 200 employees located mainly in the UK, and generated revenues of around £70m before the Cancom takeover, again, for an undisclosed sum.