One on one with Avnet Technology Solutions’ global president

Avnet Inc. (NYSE: AVT), a Phoenix Ariz.-based value-added distributor, just ended its fiscal year last month and already, Phil Gallagher, global president of Avnet Technology Solutions (ATS) group, is forging ahead with a streamlined company strategy and solutions-driven approach.

Gallagher, who has now been with the company for going on 27-years, took the reigns of ATS this past March after John Paget, the former global president, announced he was stepping down from his post in January.

Before his promotion, Gallagher was president of electronics marketing for the Americas at Avnet. No news has surfaced about where Paget is now, but Gallagher did say that while he did help with the transition, Paget is no longer with the company.

Now in his role for the past few months, CDN had the chance to speak with Gallagher, in addition to Brian Aebig, vice-president and general manager of ATS’ Canadian operations, where they discussed the company roadmap, trends in the market place and plans for Canada. Below is an edited transcript.

CDN: What have you been up to since becoming global president for ATS?

Phil Gallagher: It’s been a little over 100 days that I’ve been in this position and what I’ve been working on is understanding the business model and spending most of my time with the employee base and management team. I’ve also been traveling around North America and the rest of the world as we continue to expand in Asia. As part of my 100-day plan, I go out and take the time to listen and learn as much from our employees, managers, partners and suppliers as I can. I still have to make my way to Canada and I’ll be up there as soon as I can, and before the end of this calendar year. Canada is a market we’re committed to and a market we’re seeing good results from.

CDN: You worked closely with John during your transition period. What did you learn from him that you’ll continue on with moving forward?

P.G.: I’ve known John since he was with us and we’ve shared multiple meetings together. John brought a lot of strategy to ATS and I think a lot of the strategies he had in place were beginning and we’ll continue to build on these. I haven’t spoken to him recently as he’s no longer with Avnet, but the transition was good and positive.

We’ll continue to balance our regional and local execution with our globalization. As business continues to expand and grow around the world, we’ll have global strategies moving forward no question. But there will still be some latitude on a regional, local basis. We’ll continue to execute on services and software imperatives, on a regional basis, because what works in China, may not necessarily work in Canada. There are still nuances we have to address too.

CDN: What are the main solution areas you’d like to focus on in Canada?

Brian Aebig: Our Solutions Path methodology has paths with storage and security, and then verticals with HealthPath and GovPath. Both of those vertical paths require customization. HealthPath is the priority in terms of verticals in Canada now and we already had our first HP session here.

P.G.: Solutions Paths will continue to expand and SecurePath is now rolling out in Chicago next week. About a third of the attendees are from Canada right now. We’ll gauge the relative response and look at the number of people who want to go and perhaps we’ll make a Canadian session only.

CDN: What are your priorities for the company and your partners now?

P.G.: The number one issue for me at this level is to have employee engagement and satisfaction as high as we possibly can. In general, we need to continue to work to make sure we’re engaged with our employees and that they’re satisfied, aligned, educated and trained so we can accelerate growth. We’re continuing to add value and drive value solutions to our supplier partners and VARs to make sure we continue to invest in the Paths programs. The more we can enable our partners’ success and accelerate it, the more success we’ll enjoy as well.

CDN: Where do you see the biggest market opportunities for Avnet and your partners right now?

P.G.: From a geographic standpoint right now, growth is in Asia and we’ll continue to expand there organically and inorganically. We’re also trying to define opportunities in the area of cloud computing. We’re watching that closely and we’ll continue to align partner develop strategies around providing value and dedicating resources to that space. The healthcare and government verticals are other opportunities for us around the world.

B.A.: I think Storage Path will be the next Canadian deployment of our Solutions Path methodology because it spans so many businesses and vendors. I anticipate rolling this out in Canada in the fall time.

P.G.: Avnet will continue to make investments in the market, around our different Paths programs, and investments around the world with global support, to geographically expand our footprint around the world. We want to continue to hear what partners want to enable their growth.

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Maxine Cheung
Maxine Cheung
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