End of an era: Terry Matthews, board members bid farewell to Mitel following $2B acquisition

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Mitel co-founder and chairman of Wesley Clover International, Terry Matthews.

The kingpin of Mitel, and some would argue the whole of Kanata North, has left his chairman role at the company he co-founded more than 45 years ago after the telecom firm announced last week its $2-billion acquisition by Searchlight Capital has closed.

As Mitel’s run as an independent Ottawa firm comes to an end, the company’s board of directors has resigned, with CFO Steve Spooner as well as vice-presidents Gregory Hiscock and Stavros Pethakas joining the board of the amalgamated company. CEO Rich McBee and the rest of the management team will remain with the firm.

A Mitel spokesperson has confirmed that leaves former chairman Terry Matthews without a role at the enterprise communications firm.

The Wales-born entrepreneur co-founded Mitel in 1972 with partner Michael Cowpland. He would go on to found Newbridge Networks, investment firm Wesley Clover International and more than 100 other firms between then and now, all the while remaining involved at Mitel. The tech magnate also owns KRP Properties, the Brookstreet Hotel and the Marshes Golf Club in Kanata.

With Searchlight’s acquisition, Mitel’s second run on the public markets has also come to an end. McBee told OBJ earlier this year that a return to private operations will allow the company to focus on its long-term strategy of converting on-premise customers to its cloud-based solution.

Mitel shareholders voted 98 per cent in favour of the acquisition this past summer, which would see Searchlight purchase Mitel at a cost of US$11.15 per share.

“We are pleased to have completed the transaction and are excited for Mitel to begin this new chapter,” said McBee in a statement.

“Searchlight shares our vision to continue our move-to-the-cloud strategy, and we look forward to working with them to accelerate our strategy and drive the next phase of success for our customers, partners and employees.”