Cygnett, Will They Thrive Without Tim Swann & George Souris – channelnews


Serious questions are being asked about the future for Melbourne based Cygnett after the Companies founder and inspiration behind the brand Tim Swann died tragically this week in a trail bike accident on the Mornington Peninsular.

One observer, who for 10 years was close, to Tim Swann and worked hand in hand with him said “He will be missed, he was Cygnett and without him the Company will struggle”.

Tim Swann is not the only loss for Cygnett that is now being run by former Health Care Australia executive Paul Santoro.

Back in 2019 the business parted Company with George Souris, the long-time President of Sales at Cygnett. George had worked hand in hand with Tim Swann to build the business for more than a decade.

When he departed Santoro praised Souris to ChannelNews who had been credited with helping to grow the Melbourne based accessories Company from a small operation, to today operating in 42 Countries.

Souris joined Cygnett in 2008 after initially working as their export manager and then taking over responsibility for sales.

The early days of Cygnett, saw the business fighting off liquidity problems and it was not until an injection of capital from the Swann family who had build Swann Communications into a household name, that the business was stabilised.

This capital injection allowed the business to move forward under the management of Souris and Tim Swann who like his father David Swann understood the technology market.

Shortly after Souris left Cygnett, Santoro initiated legal action in the Federal Court after he joined archival Tempo.

In documents seen by ChannelNews several allegations were made relating to Company secrets and information that Souris had gleaned during his years as the Companies sales director.

Industry observers claim that Cygnett will struggle to replace the knowledge and skill sets that Souris and Tim Swann delivered for the Company.

“The talent has gone from the business” said person who has been close to the Company for several years.
Tim Swann’s father David Swann started Swann Security more than 30 years ago in a Melbourne garage. He transformed the business to be a global technology Company that was eventually acquired by a major US Company.

Tim Swann worked for his father for more than a decade before he stepped out and created the brand name Cygnett (The young Swann) brand.

During the period, that he worked for Swann, he learnt a lot about the industry he was described this week as being “As sharp as a razor.”

He finally decided to quit Swann to start his own business using the Cygnett brand name.
Some insiders claim that David Swann wanted his son to continue in the business eventually taking on the running of the business.

“What Tim Swann and George Souris delivered for this business cannot be purchased. Santoro does not have the industry skill or knowledge that these two delivered for the business and it’s not something that be acquired by hiring another person” said a high-level industry executive.

“What they understood was all aspects of the business. They were able to quickly identify an opportunity, the manufacturer best suited to deliver a product and Souris was the consummate salesman who was able to open doors at retailers”.

“The pair were a jack of all trades in this tough and ever-changing industry” they added.

Under Santoro the business has already had some missteps. After investing heavily in 2018 in electric bikes the business were forced to write this category off after the Cygnett product was a dismal failure.

After cutting an exclusive deal to sell the Cygnett bike at JB Hi Fi, it quickly became apparent that the Life Cycle branded product was not going to fly.

The bike delivered 45 kilometres of electric power and 12 Shimano gears that could be used in between calling on battery power.

The Company have not said how much this exercise cost them.

Another market where Cygnett has struggled is in the SmartHouse control market.

Back in 2019 Marketing Manager Michael Broadhurst was telling ChannelNews that the business was set to be a major player in the emerging SmartHouse control market.

There was going to be controllers, starter kits, door locks and dead bolts. Several variations of lighting were shown to us at the time.

Today the Cygnett web site consists of a few light bulbs, a controller and LED lighting strips.

At Harvey Norman there is a range of Cygnett SmartHouse products however sales staff admit that apart from the light bulbs the Cygnett and other controllers from other brands are not in big demand.Cygnett has not said why their SmartHouse ranging has been cut back on their own site.

 

 

 

Tim Swann described himself as being skilled in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and advertising with the Company mounting major direct sell campaigns to drive business to their own site.

Consumers who sign up on the Cygnett direct sell web site are immediately given a 20% discount for providing their phone details.

 

This is valuable information for Cygnett who are then sending EDM’s to customers to buy direct from the Companies online store.

Santoro claimed to the Australian newspaper that before launching Cygnett in 2003, Tim Swann played an integral role alongside David Swann in the global expansion and successive sale of Swann Communications.

“Tim was a natural entrepreneur, a dynamic innovator and a visionary leader. He truly lived life to the fullest,” says Mr Santoro.

He says Mr Swann ‘s incredible energy inspired everyone he met. “His passion for business was only matched by his passion for his family and his lifelong appetite for skiing, water sports and travel.”

Sophie Swann says her brother was a devoted and hands-on father and loving husband.

He was “a mentor and role model as an uncle and godfather, a respected and supportive son, a caring and nurturing brother and a steadfast and collaborative business partner. He was universally adored, a trusted friend to so many and will be so missed,” she says.

Tim Swann’s funeral will be on December 9, 2022, in Melbourne.
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