21 December 2016
Using courage and decisiveness as his personal compass, Karim Hussona built his business to become one of New Zealand’s smartest, most diverse Internet and telecommunications service providers. It’s a story of unwavering determination.
By Glenn Baker, Editor of NZBusiness.
Like all inspiring business stories, Karim Hussona’s began with a dream, was fuelled by passion and a team of dedicated supporters. And yes, there was an element of luck too.
For the Group CEO of Compass Communications it’s been a remarkable ride from uni-graduate in the UK to respected entrepreneur and business leader in New Zealand, heading an enterprise with 100-plus staff and turnover of around $70 million.
Compass is not a publicly-listed company, so its story is largely untold. We open with Karim, British-born son of an Iraqi engineer, raised in England, Iraq and Kuwait, graduating from university in the UK with an electronics engineering degree.
His first job was for newly privatised British Telecom, “then a huge, lumbering state-owned telco employing around 230,000 people”. It was followed by a stint with Cray Research, a US ‘super-computer’ manufacturer for the likes of NASA (“its hard-drives provided less storage than today’s average smartphone!”), and subsequently a job at Cable & Wireless – which had interests in telcos worldwide.
The latter was a job Karim enjoyed. The focus was managed fax products – a leading technology in the early 90s. It was there where he developed a system to exploit new technology and regulatory opportunities in order to deliver a wholesale service to operators that dramatically reduced the cost of sending faxes. In the early 90s, sending faxes was as prevalent as email is today.