John Sykes founded Sykes Enterprises and made it Tampa's own when he relocated the company from Charlotte, N.C., 16 years ago. In 2004, son Chuck Sykes, already well steeped in the company's operations, took over from his father. While John Sykes has gone on to new entrepreneurial challenges, Sykes Enterprises has become CEO Chuck's to run, and run well amid a difficult global economy — including floods in the Philippines where Sykes operates a facility.
When Chuck Sykes started as chief executive, the company had $466 million in revenues. Now it's well over $800 million and poised, he says, to benefit from the coming boom in outsourcing services.
Tuesday's $263 million acquisition of ICT Group reflects that strategy, giving Sykes access to key outsourcing niches: government, health care and energy.
The deal also bolsters Sykes' careful-but-can-do reputation in Tampa Bay's business community. Sykes, 46, will soon be anointed 2010 chairman of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce where one of his out-of-the-box goals will be to work regionally with the St. Petersburg chamber. He's also stepping into the leadership pipeline at the regional Tampa Bay Partnership and is slated to chair the seven-county group in late 2011.
In economic development circles, Sykes is helping to identify business clusters that Tampa Bay may want to build its economy upon in the future.
Sykes also serves on the ABC Committee looking at potential sites for a new stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays.
In the latest St. Petersburg Times annual survey of Tampa Bay business leaders, conducted each January, Chuck Sykes was cited as an up and comer. Keeping Sykes Enterprises both healthy and expanding in tough times suggests the business community's instincts are right on the money.
Robert Trigaux can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.