The loss of an IT services pioneer

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

CSC has been a dominant part of the Australian IT services landscape for the past four decades years. Sadly, the man who first took control of the business will no longer be able to see it enter its fifth decade.
Ian Esplin, who became the first CEO of Computer Sciences of Australia, as it was called at the time, passed away this month, aged 94.
He is survived by a son, daughter, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
CSA had an interesting beginning. It was started by funds management and superannuation company AMP, who owned a 51% share and US-based Computer Science Corporation which held a 49% share.
AMP had decided in the late 60s the future of its business would be a world of online systems. What it got to discover in building those systems was that they were more complex than what people believed in at that point in time. So it looked for a technology partner to get into this brave new world. Computer Science Corporation had invested in computer time sharing bureaus and they were trying to share that across the globe. Both parties saw natural synergies and CSA was formed.
Esplin was selected to lead the company in 1970 and did so for several years before being replaced by an American expat.
Well before his involvement in IT, Esplin was a WWII fighter pilot for the RAF. He also worked for a brief period at Qantas after the war. In the 1950s he returned to England to be a squadron leader in the RAF. He returned to Australia in the 1960s and worked for an American manufacturing company before getting the job with CSA.
AMP continued to have involvement - it stake in the company fluctuated over the years -- with CSC until will sold it to the Americans in 1993.

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