The management team at Tech Data Canada has been together so long it’s become both of point of pride and a running punchline that the Monday morning executive team meetings headed by president Rick Reid are basically a post-weekend family reunion. But that family, after being together for more than a decade, has seen some changes recently.
Gone is longtime vice president of sales, Frank Haid, who retired in June. And gone is longtime vice president of finance Howard Tuffnail, who’s parlayed a short-term role helping the company’s U.K. subsidiary with its integration of SDG Distribution into a new role heading up finance for Tech Data U.K. And in is longtime controller Daryl Rosien, who moves up to vice president and controller.
But the distributor recently announced that Haid’s chair at the table won’t get a new occupant – unless, of course, Greg Myers wants to put his feet up.
The distributor has confirmed that Myers, for 14 years the company’s vice president of marketing, has absorbed leadership of the sales organization as well, and will head up the all of the distributor’s front office operations for Canada. For Myers, it’s a chance to get back to his roots in sales, and to continue a journey he and Haid had been on together.
“Over the last several years, we’ve built a very effective integrated sales and marketing approach to our business,” Myers said. “From a customer point of view, the more seamless we make it, the more value we provide.”
Myers said he’ll be continuing down that road, but that’s not to say he doesn’t have some changes in mind. For the past few years, the distributor has been reinventing itself as a hybrid broadline and value-added distributor. That’s allowed Tech Data Canada to grow its infrastructure-related business, and set itself up for higher margin opportunities – both for the distributor and for its resellers. But Myers said the volume side of the business is at an inflection point, with the rise of mobility, growing acceptance for Windows 8, and the looming retirement of Windows XP driving some significant opportunity for the broadline business.
So while the company will continue to drive the higher-value businesses, Myers said he wants to turn his attention towards the volume side of the business and make sure Tech Data Canada’s presence in that field is distinguished both from its value-added business and its peers in the distribution marketplace.
“Our vision has always been to be number one or number two in the markets we serve,” Myers said. “And we have an opportunity to further distinguish the support that resellers need in our value and volume businesses.”
Having the two businesses under the same model is clearly not the way forward. As Myers points out, the products and the resellers that sell them simply have far different parameters. There are different speeds of business and sales cycles, different reseller requirements, and certainly different margin profiles, among other differences.
Tech Data Canada times two?
So what exactly will those changes look like? Myers can’t said it’s too early to say right now, but that he’s working with the directors underneath him on both the sales and marketing side to determine the route forward. He expects to be able to roll out some changes by the beginning of the distributor’s fourth quarter in November.
The distributor certainly has options, ranging from a subtle revamp of its value-oriented Advanced Infrastructure Solutions (AIS) division, through to more completely separating the two lines of business, even to the point of a spinoff that would create separate organizations supporting the two key audiences under the Tech Data banner.
The idea of Tech Data Canada splitting its business so dramatically may seem far-fetched – and it’s certainly not something that Myers has either directly said or even hinted at being in the works – but it’s not without precedence. While the former EMJ Data Systems is integrated into Synnex Canada, it remains very much a separate organization within the organization as Synnex Technology Solutions. Such a structure may prove advantageous for Tech Data Canada as well.
But Myers clearly feels sitting still is not an option. As the market continues to change, he said the distributor has to change with it, and to figure out how to optimally present its two sides to their respective audience, acknowledging of course that many resellers – and even many vendors – play in both the high-value and high-volume markets.
“We want to make sure the investments we’re making are well-aligned on both sides,” Myers said.
He said he’s undertaking the project as the backbone of the distributor’s strategy over the next three to five years, defining Tech Data Canada’s strategic vision going forward
Reid was very open in the days following the announcement of Haid’s then-pending retirement that the decision for his sales chief to retire had been preceded by a discussion between Reid and Haid over which man would head out first. The two executives are very close in age.
By consolidating front office operations under Myers, and effectively reinforcing him alongside Reid as the reseller-facing face of Tech Data Canada, the distributor may be tipping its hand in terms of its leadership intention should Reid decide it’s his time to retire. Myers acknowledged that clearly, with the new role, he’s closer to leading the distributor’s Canadian operations that he was as vice president of marketing. But that doesn’t mean Myers is measuring for furniture in the president’s office just yet.
“Rick and I are both here, and are both passionate to support our partners and our vendor customers,” Myers said. “I anticipate that Rick and I will be continuing to work together for some time.”