As others come to bury Murray Wright and Dave Walsh, both formerly of Ingram Micro Canada, I write in this space to praise them.
First they are good people and you hate to see anything bad happen to good people. I am sure that both these men understand business decisions.
And not all business
decisions are popular. Ingram Micro’s decision to make a leadership change in Canada and remove its general manager (Wright) and its vice-president of marketing (Walsh) was, let’s face it, unpopular.
Both men had stellar reputations in the marketplace and in the community.
This duo didn’t just make their numbers, but also exceeded them. They brokered the Xbox business from Microsoft, which brought incredible profits to Ingram.
Under their watch, Wright and Walsh, along with Greg Tobin, built a very successful components business basically from scratch. They launched the PC Outlet and digital home networking alliance.
Walsh was always a big proponent of the Venture Tech Network (VTN). During his time at Ingram, the VTN numbers grew significantly to the point that if this team of 50 or so resellers was one company they would be second in terms of revenue generation behind only NexInnovations in Canada.
Keith Bradley, president of Ingram Micro North America, acknowledged that this team did a fantastic job and that Ingram would like to bring some of their ideas into the U.S.
Now, to be fair to Ingram, as a leading company in their market it knows too well that staying the course of business is the ultimate in bad decisions. All companies that want to remain the leader can never rest on their laurels. Business history is paved by companies who thought they could rest only to see upstarts snatch away what they once had.
So the mere fact Ingram wanted to further its North American region strategy is not the problem.
The problem is given the track records of Wright and Walsh, these two men should have been given the opportunity to fail.
I believe they earned that right.
Bradley, as the head of Ingram North America, also has the right to make changes and run the operation as he sees fit.
He told me in an interview his decision wasn’t easy to make. It was based on the company’s North American strategy and had nothing to do with the new outsourcing move at all. He believes Wright and Walsh did not have the experience necessary to execute this strategy.
In comes Martin Kalsbeek, a 14-year veteran of Ingram Micro Canada, to the GM post. He will be running the day-to-day operation.
I don’t envy his position.