NASHVILLE, TENN. – You have to give Alain Monie, the CEO of Ingram Micro, credit for showing the courage to actually talk about the recent terror attacks in Paris.
Normally senior level executives in his position would try to avoid the situation because its simply not their place in society. Another reason for not commenting is that whatever he says would be scrutinized over. Its basically a no win scenario for the executive and therefore they do not address it.
Not from a personal level of course because we are all upset about what occurred in Paris last week. But Monies, who is citizen of France even though he now makes his home in Santa Ana, Calf., represents a $46 billion multinational distributor and when he speaks; he speaks for Ingram Micro.
Monie was asked by a channel partner at the IngramOne event in front of a packed audience of close to 2,000 people how the recent terror attacks impact a worldwide business such as Ingram Micro?
This is how Monie answered the question: “My thoughts on the terror attacks are being formulated by the hour. People ask me to have a presence in Russia, for example. I would love to be in Russia. We are now in 85 per cent of the world where technology is done, but we are not everywhere and there is a reason for that. Sometimes its political and sometimes its for competitive reasons. Some areas play by a set of rules that we are not interested in. The recent events have shifted our focus a bit. When we look at a new area we look at its long term future. At the moment we need to be smart and we need to be tactical. We invested in the Middle East and Africa and I believe it will be an great economic engine in the future. That area has its moments and they have their ups and downs, but in the long run they will stabilize and our business will move along.”
I thought Monie’s comments were an appropriate way to address the terror attacks. From a business perspective he clearly indicated that he takes global expansion very carefully and I think channel partners who use Ingram Micro as their primary source for products and solutions should know the CEO’s strategy in this case.
Going into an area of unrest such as the Middle East is a big bet and its not the only big bet Monie spoke to at the IngramOne show. Monie also said that mobility, cloud and vertical focus are big bets for the company.
However, his approach to these big bets was quite interesting. Monie said typically distributors deal in huge volumes and run on thin margins. “So we need to be prudent because of our narrow profit model,” he said.
But Monie added that he would rather invest significant dollars where its needed. “I think it would be a mistake to not make bigger bets.”
An example of this was the company’s investment in the cloud marketplace. In three years he sees the cloud being about half of Ingram Micro’s business. Now if he made a prudent investment instead of a big bet would Ingram be ready to handle in the dramatic increase in cloud business?