GE Access drops GE from its name but not logo

As part of its parent company’s global launch of a new branding architecture, storage and networking distributor GE Access has changed its name to Access Distribution, a General Electric company.

The branding effort, which is scheduled to be completed by January, affects approximately 200 divisions

of GE Corp. Eleven business units within the company will keep the GE monogram in front of their names.

These include GE Commercial Finance, which Access Distribution falls under, GE Healthcare, GE Infrastructure and GE Advanced Materials. The GE logo will also appear next to the company’s slogan, “”Imagination at work.””

Mark Kulaga, director of corporate marketing and communications at Access Distribution, said the name change dates back to a year ago when GE decided to “”simplify”” the 128-year-old firm that was founded by inventor Thomas Alva Edison to customers.

“”The previous 20 years have been building GE from a conglomeration of companies and acquisitions,”” said Kulaga.

“”Now we’re trying to take all of those companies, acquisitions and business divisions and simplify GE to the market,”” he said.

Last month’s announcement was the final phase of a month-long rollout that started with internal stakeholder meetings in the first week followed by an internal branding campaign in the second week. Departments within Access including shipping, receiving, sales, product marketing and human resources were given a template letter to distribute to their constituents such as vendors and customers, notifying them of the change.

Business as usual

Aside from the 600 Access Distribution employees worldwide having to change their voice mail and e-mail extensions, Kulaga said it’s pretty much business as usual.

Britt Hilton, director of sales at Myra Systems Corp., a Vancouver, B.C.-based Sun Microsystems iForce partner, agreed.

The phone and the post office

“”The only difference is the e-mail addresses and they answer the phone differently,”” he said, noting the last time the company changed its name it was a bigger deal for some partners.

“”There were concerns among some people whether they wanted to continue their relationship with GE,”” Hilton added.

Access Graphics, formerly a Unix specialist and Sun distributor, was acquired by GE in 1998 to become GE Capital IT Distribution Group, which changed its name to GE Access in 2000.

“”It certainly doesn’t cause any confusion in the marketplace as to what we do or who we are,”” Kulaga said. “”We’re able to keep the Access name.””

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