Kevin Murai calls it a day

Kevin Murai told me he is feeling fantastic even though he basically had to give up his career at Ingram Micro.The move was extremely difficult to make and bittersweet, but the COO of Ingram Micro chose family over continuing a 20-year career with the broadline distributor.

The executive has been traveling back and forth from Toronto to Santa Ana, Calif., after his wife and four children returned home to take care of his wife’s aging parents.

Murai had what I would call a fairy-tale or storybook career at the distributor. You know, the small town boy who makes good with a large multi-national company.

He started out as a tech guy and through the years grew with the subsidiary, and just before the turn of the century became the president of Ingram Micro Canada. In that position he helped to build the new office in Mississauga, Ont., which has been referred to in the Canadian IT channel as the Taj Mahal.

Murai leaves Ingram Micro stronger than ever. The company is still a powerhouse in distribution.

He made several long-lasting moves during his time at the company. For example, the deal with Progeon, a subsidiary of Infosys Technologies Inc., to outsource certain job functions to the Philippines and India.

It was controversial at the time, but it helped keep the distributors’ costs in line and enabled it to remain profitable at its current clip.

He also helped to acquire AVAD, a home-technology distributor based in Hollywood, Fla., to strengthen Ingram’s position in the consumer electronics marketplace. That was a visionary decision considering every other distributor is trying to get at that market right now.

But in my opinion his biggest headline-making move was establishing the North American sales strategy. It was, and I guess still is, a one-entity for one continent type of model. I have no figures on if this worked or not, except to say that both U.S. and Canadian operations are doing well. He launched this during the dot-com downfall and maybe that was the basis for his decision.

He took some heat when that same strategy re-emerged a few years ago, which led to the firings of popular executives Murray Wright, who now works for rival Tech Data and Dave Walsh, who works for top VAR Acrodex.

To be fair, Keith Bradley, Ingram’s North American GM and the man who is ultimately responsible for the Canadian operation, said it was his decision and his alone to remove Wright and Walsh.

I asked Murai if he had any regrets and he took all of a second to answer “no.”

Also you can forget about him coming back to run the Canadian operations.

So his time at Ingram ends at a nice and neat 20 years. Murai told me a few years ago that by being at a company a long time you are a witness to all of its changes. His advice was to stay ahead of change.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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