In 2005, in my capacity as COO at Dwight Asset Management, I hired Ted Laskaris for the position of CTO. At that time, Dwight was a boutique investment management firm on the brink of a period of rapid expansion.
Dwight's technology platform at this time was in need of modernization
in order to handle an influx of new assets and to compete with larger, more established competitors. Ted was given license to analyze the current environment, develop a new platform, prioritize user requirements and invest new capital allocated to IT. In addition, there were several long-overdue projects underway that Ted was tasked with completing.
Ted was systematic in his approach. The first priority was to get control of the company's data. Ted analyzed the situation, dismissed a vendor who was failing to deliver and engaged an outside consulting group to work alongside internal staff in order to centralized the securities database The result was the company's first securities data warehouse; used by analysts, portfolio managers, client service personnel, etc. The Dwight Data Warehouse was developed and delivered to be scalable for the asset growth projected and realized by the firm.
Ted developed a top-notch network and development team; recruiting new talent from the outside, managing out of the firm those who no longer could contribute at the level required, and complementing the internal team with the best outside consulting resources in the area. He provided structure, clear direction, and a positive vision. Ted identified and nurtured his top performers, giving them ample opportunities to develop their own leadership skills.
Included in Ted's directive was the charge that he should be a "change
agent." As such, he developed relations with other mid and senior level
managers in order to bring the best IT solutions to each area. The role of change agent requires considerable tact and finesse. Ted varied his approach depending upon the situation; in some instances quickly delivering solutions when welcomed and, in other instances, retreating to try again at a later date when rebuffed.
Ted and his team developed and implemented an offsite back-up and recovery site and also put in place the procedures to run the firm from the alternative site. Regular testing provided comfort to management, clients and outside auditors that the firm could maintain operations in the event of an emergency.
Ted's acumen was well recognized, both within Dwight and also by the
firm's U.S. holding company. He was called upon to share his knowledge and best practices with other affiliated companies.
Ted is a true IT professional with the expertise to implement and manage a technology infrastructure, oversee a staff of specialists and deal with both fellow managers and senior leadership. He translates
technology into terms that are understandable for all and seeks to have
it serve as a cost-efficient differentiator for the firm.