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Kalsbeek steps down as head of Ingram Canada

The region was already operating as a multinational company from a back-office point of view

In 2005, Ingram Micro Canada went through a tumultuous change of management when corporate headquarters decided to streamline its North American operations. Fast-forward two years later, and Canada’s current top executive has decided to leave the company.

Martin Kalsbeek, vice-president and general manager of Ingram Micro Canada, says he will step down by the end of this year, but will continue to lead the Canadian operations until a successor is named (at which point he’ll take on a consultative role).

Kalsbeek cites a “personal need to spend more time with my immediate family and be closer to my extended family on the West Coast” as his reason for the decision. But, Ingram Micro insists, everything is business as usual until a replacement is found.

Two years ago, Keith Bradley, president of Ingram Micro’s North America region, stated that the region was already operating as a multinational company from a back-office point of view, so the distie wanted to streamline its management team to “drive consistent business strategies and implement best practices across borders.”

At that point, Ingram Micro Canada’s president Murray Wright and vice-president of marketing Dave Walsh were abruptly dismissed – which came as a shock to Canadian resellers (not to mention Wright and Walsh). Bradley hired Kalsbeek – who had joined Ingram Micro in 1992 in a sales capacity and worked his way up the ranks – to head up the Canadian division.

It couldn’t have been an easy role to step into, considering the confusion and negativity surrounding the departures of Wright and Walsh. Despite this, Kalsbeek managed to make his mark in two short years.

The distribution business has been rapidly evolving to include more value-driven solutions and services, and Kalsbeek oversaw several initiatives in this area, including the launch of the Data Capture/POS, Managed Services and Components and Consumer Electronics divisions in Canada.

Ingram Micro also credits Kalsbeek with improving sales coverage and supporting customers with improved service, inventory levels and credit options. The distie has also grown its customer base, particularly in the small and mid-sized business market, and now claims 6,000 active customers in Canada.

Kalsbeek will assist Bradley in looking for a replacement, though the ultimate decision will rest with Bradley. Originally the two talked about the possibility of Kalsbeek continuing in his current role from out West, but decided in the end that wouldn’t work.

And while Kalsbeek doesn’t know what the future will bring come next January, it’s unlikely we’ve seen the last of him – don’t be surprised to see him turn up somewhere in the channel next year.