After a 35-year run as one of the top channel executives in Canada – the last 18 years as senior VP of sales and marketing for Tech Data Canada – Greg Myers is retiring from the Mississauga, Ont.-based distributor.
In an extensive interview with CDN, Myers said he has no regrets leaving an organization he called home for close to two decades. He added, leaving Tech Data with a bang with the successful integration of Avnet Technology Solutions. Myers was an integral member of the Avnet Technology Solutions North American integration team and he told CDN that the last part of the integration was very hectic and certainly an extremely demanding time. “We finished with a flurry and it was nice to then get away.” Away was an extended vacation in Barcelona and Madrid.
“The outpouring of support after I made my decision has really taken me back. The timing of my retirement surprised many and I’m just pleased that so many people have reached out to wish me well and wanting to connect especially Tech Data employees. They are truly amazing. So many great people in this business and you know there is a real bond in this community. I just feel fortunate to be part of it for so long,” Myers said.
Myers has used his time off to reflect on his future. He is not going back to a distribution job. He does want to continue in the industry in some capacity. “Even after 35 years I believe I have at least one more opportunity to squeeze out of it,” he said.
In a wide-ranging interview, Myers had a lot to say about many different topics. The following is an edited transcript.
CDN Now: Why retire from Tech Data now?
Greg Myers: I have nothing but good things to say about Tech Data. There is a reorganization because of the Technology Solutions acquisition and it’s a new line of business closer to a Pan-American business model. The new business plan and strategy going forward were not consistent to my own personal aspirations. I had an opportunity with them but after a conversation with Tech Data we decided to bring this long and very valuable relationship to a conclusion. And, Tech Data is entering the next chapter of its evolution and it will have a new team after Rick Reid retires.
CDN Now: Any similarities to the Novell Canada leadership opportunity?
G.M.: It’s also similar to Packard Bell/NEC. They are combined. They are inflection points and all of them emerged as a result of big financial moments or organizational design changes. Those things tend to drive the lifecycle of a business and there are some similarities for sure. After 35 years in business my career has ebbed and flowed, but I was able to transition through those changes and I was able to work at reseller organizations, vendors, and in distribution. Really, I have dedicated my career to the channel.
CDN Now: What’s it like to work with Rick Reid?
G.M.: It’s a great experience working with Rick. He is the real deal. He plays it straight up and we’ve had a great complimentary relationship at the organization. We were able to drive so many great outcomes.
CDN Now: Your thoughts on the rest of the team at Tech Data Canada?
G.M.: There are so many moments. And, Tech Data is in fact a large community of families and they all directly impact you. If it’s someone with a loved one with cancer or a death in the family. You see a lot in a large organization like Tech Data. But there were so many more moments of happiness and triumph. That will be my most distinct memory; the unique culture we built at the company.
CDN Now: In distribution, you had the opportunity to work with many vendors. Any top CEOs impress you?
G.M.: I’ve been impressed with many C-level executives. It was quite something to engage with John Chambers of Cisco. All of them are such luminaries in the industry and bring so much value.
CDN Now: You got into the IT industry in the 80s. They say that time was a lot of fun. What do you remember about that time?
G.M.: Early on the marketing budgets were huge and companies would do anything to impress a channel partner. Money was no object. The Comdex scene was a lot of fun. They had free helicopter rides just to take you up and down the Las Vegas strip. They would hold lavish parties at UNLV. Limos were everywhere. You could see entertainers like Dean Martin. It was crazy.
CDN Now: What are your thoughts on the Canadian channel community?
G.M.: Well, so many great people running businesses really well. It is really one of the great triumphs of the channel. This community has survived and flourished from being primarily break-fix to some kind of services deliver business. So many have successfully transitioned to building businesses with deeper customer relationships. The channel is made up of great people running amazing businesses. I can count on one hand the number of truly unreasonable people I’ve known in the channel in my 35 years. The channel community has great family values and it made it fun to be a part of.
I want to thank all of them for the support from my former team at Tech Data; all the employees, the people in the channel. A fantastic group of folks that has kept me strong for more than 30 years. The people of the channel is the real story behind the news. They bring so much value that it’s extraordinary.