How TES’ Group CEO champions sustainable tomorrow

His 30-year experience in the industry has given him insights into doing business right.

Since its inception in 2005, IT services company TES -- Sustainable Technology Lifecycle Solutions -- has become a global leader in sustainable technology services and solutions that assist clients in managing the commissioning, deployment, and retirement of technology devices and components.

This accomplishment would not be possible without the company’s Group CEO, Gary Steele. His strong passion for people, supported by an extensive experience in leading business teams through periods of continuous growth and improvement, has uniquely positioned TES to make sustainability the heart of everything it does.

“TES at its core is a sustainability business. It is what we do and is who we are,” Steele said.

Steele started in the technology industry 30 years ago by founding his first business in the nascent mobile space in the United Kingdom. There, he had to be intimately familiar with both the technology being sold and the technology being used to run his business. It also provided him with firsthand knowledge of various aspects of business management.

TES was established with the mission to make a decade of difference by securely, safely, and sustainably transforming and repurposing one billion kilograms of assets by 2030. Through Steele’s leadership, the company has made great strides in this regard.

Steele, who has been immersed in the technology industry for decades, still manages to keep himself updated with the ins and outs of a fast-paced industry such as IT. He does this by being engaged with and listening intently to his global team, clients, industry forums, and investors.

“All of these stakeholders have their own vantage points and perspectives, and it is invaluable to leaders to canvass and collect those to ensure we are on the right path. And, it is just as important to course correct when we are not,” he said.

Since the company’s establishment, it has naturally expanded outward into the wider region based on the clientele it has served.

“Those clients were all large, multinational companies with needs in the region and strongly encouraged our expansion from Singapore to provide the same services and infrastructure across APAC, which was underdeveloped at the time,” Steele said.

Today, the company serves the same clients in APAC as well as in Europe and the USA.

TES’ decision to expand outside Asia Pacific is what Steele deems as a clear game changer for their business. He mentioned that it would have been easy to continue growing organically and polish the edges as it has already become a profitable and relatively dominant business in Asia Pacific.

“We realised there was an opportunity for a business from the little red dot to grow into Europe and the US, serving our clients by becoming a trusted partner. We focused on asking questions of our stakeholders, listening carefully, and expanding our footprint whilst we increased our service portfolio coverage,” he said.

Throughout his career, Steele has gained insights into doing business right and has applied such learning to this day. He noted that the team leaders they surround themselves with are the number one success factor in any organisation; he also stressed that leaders should learn how to ask the right questions.

“It’s okay not to have all the answers; that’s why you need a great team,” Steele said.

These principles have helped him propel TES and the business to excellent client service performance, as measured by its strong financials and geographical expansions. He mentioned that deepening long-term, trusted partnerships with clients is always at the forefront of TES’ strategies.

“For us, this means solving problems for our clients, whether the problem is today or tomorrow. This thought process is exactly what we mean by Sustaining Tomorrow,” he said.

Meanwhile, Steele believes that the technology industry is at an inflexion point, such that innovation in terms of process, tools, and reporting has been relatively static for the last 10 to 15 years.

“The long-term winners will be the providers who have the appetite and means to invest in innovations like better material refinement, automation, sustainability programmes and more,” he added.

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