Michael Malone is leaving iiNet. Picture: Iain Gillespie/The West Australian.
Michael Malone is leaving iiNet. Picture: Iain Gillespie/The West Australian.

The man who started a small tech business in the garage of his parent's house more than 20 years ago and turned it into a billion-dollar, national internet service provider has resigned.

iiNet announced this morning that Michael Malone would step down as chief executive of the company and resign from the board.

Mr Malone has been on a sabbatical from his position since November last year and has since made the decision to leave the company.

Mr Malone said he had decided to dedicate his tome to other opportunities.

"Over the past three months, I've had the opportunity to pursue activities I'm passionate about, andtaken time out to meet many inspirational individuals from across the globe," he said."During this time away from the business, it became clear to me leading iiNet and its passionate staff requires 24/7 commitment, energy and enthusiasm.

"I have been able to achieve that for over 20 years but have come to the point where I want to dedicate my time to other opportunities."

Mr Malone said iiNet was in the best financial shape it had ever been and had a strong growth plan for future success.

"I have taken great pride in the company that we have built," he said.

"I know iiNet management and staff have the ability, energy and vision to keep building the business, and providing our customers with amazing service.

"It will be incredibly hard for me to move on but I plan to keep a strong relationship with the company and all of its staff, many of whom are close friends."

iiNet chairman Michael Smith said he didn't know how Mr Malone had managed to sustain his passion over such a long time and the company was incredibly proud of his achievements.

"We are committed to ensuring his legacy and story lives on through a continued commitment to service excellence, challenging the status quo, thinking for ourselves and growing," he said.

The company said David Buckingham would continue to act in the role of iiNet chief executive.

"In the interests of sound corporate governance, the board will be conducting an international search for a new CEO," the company said.

iiNet is Australia's second-biggest DSL ISP and an ASX 200 company with more than 2000 staff.

Its value punched through the $1 billion mark last year, bestowing admission to WA's billion dollar club - a small group of about a dozen WA companies worth more than a billion dollars.

iiNet shares were up 19 cents, or 2.5 per cent, to $7.79 at 7.55am.

The West Australian

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