Ingram Micro Canada’s general manager and vice-president of marketing have been let go in a new round of restructuring at the world’s largest IT distributor that will see the company adopt a North American region business model.
Wright, who was the chief executive at Ingram Canada for four years and Dave Walsh, who headed up marketing for more than five years, were blindsided by the decision, according to one industry source.
The pair worked on Ingram Micro’s recently announced outsourcing strategy, where back office functions are being handled by Progeon, based in Bangalore, India.
In 2001, Kevin Murai, Ingram Micro’s president and COO, unified U.S. and Canadian operations to maximize efficiencies and share best practices. Months later, Murai decided to promote Wright to the top job because he said the company recognized key decisions were taking too long from Ingram’s headquarters in Santa Ana, Calif.
Murai was unavailable for comment at press time.
According to Keith Bradley, president of Ingram Micro North America, the decision was linked back to success of the initial U.S./Canadian integration. Bradley, who flew to Toronto to personally deliver the bad news to Wright and Walsh, said the 2001 move allowed the company to grow, save money on back-office functions such as distribution and finance and leverage best practices in Canada.
For example, Bradley cited how the U.S. operations adopted the Canadian retail business practice.
Bradley admitted that the Canadian operation was executing well and was very profitable, but that it was time to take the next step.
“We had to enhance the move to a North American structure,” he said, adding that Martin Kalsbeek will act as full time country manager. “Murray Wright had two roles and he had to stretch himself. Now Martin is the country manager and we are bringing in Mark Snider as vice-president, sales and this is a further investment into Canada from a profit and loss perspective.”
According to an internal Ingram Micro memo obtained by CDN, Kalsbeek will actually have Wright’s old title as vice-president and general manager.
Kalsbeek, a 14-year veteran of Ingram Micro Canada, will report to Bradley and be responsible for running the day-to-day business in Canada and will be accountable for overall profit and loss.
Snider will also be responsible for VAR, government and large account sales in Canada.
Other hires include Brian Wiser and vice-president of sales, North America, Paul Bay as senior vice president of vendor management, North America. Bay is taking on additional responsibility for the Canadian vendor management team.
The memo also said Mike Gazdic will now report directly to Bay and will oversee the Canadian marketing team on an interim basis.
A new vice-president of marketing will be named to oversee North American marketing duties. This person, when hired, will report to Bradley.
Pat Capparelli, senior vice-president of U.S. sales, left Ingram Micro for personal reasons.
“What we’ve done here is different than a few years ago,” Bradley said. “Back then we tried to take both functions in the U.S. and Canada and make them single. So people in Canada could be buying for the U.S. What we’ve done is a leadership change at the top. Vendor marketing and sales are separate and there will be no blending at an operational level.
“This is a leadership alignment instead of blending two groups into one,” Bradley said.
Bradley said he valued the leadership both Wright and Walsh provided, but added that Ingram Micro required more experience to leverage the best practices and enhance the transition. Kalsbeek, with 14 years of service at Ingram, has that, he said.
Bradley also said that this was his decision and that newly named CEO Greg Spierkel was not involved.
“It was my decision and my recommendation and I stand by it,” he said.
He added that the decision was not a easy one to make, but that he felt it was the right one for the future of Ingram Micro.