The top 25 newsmakers of 2007 – Number 8: Mark Snider, Charlie Spano

When Ingram Micro appointed regional channel chief, Mark Snider and finance head, Charlie Spano to lead the Canadian division, it surprised many who thought that one person, and not a tag team, would be chosen to lead the Canadian operation.

But what the hiring of the tandem GMs did for Ingram was reaffirm the distributor’s North American strategy.

Mark Snider, the new general manager of partner development, called his promotion a logical progression of the North American model, first instituted at Ingram Micro by Kevin Murai back in 2001.

“Charlie (Spano) and I have the experience with the customers and at the back end. We have the relationships with the U.S. and with the team here in Canada. It was an easy decision for Keith (Bradley, president, Ingram Micro North America) to make,” Snider said.

For Spano, who joined the Mississauga, Ont.-based Ingram Micro Canada in 1995 and is now accountable for Canada’s finance, operations, IT, and human resources departments, his promotion to the shared corner office was just a confirmation of the process that was already in place, he said.

Spano added that most of the decisions at Ingram Micro Canada were made collectively by himself, Snidar and Martin Kalsbeek, the outgoing president.

“We worked together a lot with Martin on several projects and it was a natural progression,” Spano said.

Both Snider and Spano believe that the two of them together will speed up the decision making process at the distributor.

“Charlie and I will be keeping all of our current responsibilities and with that we believe we will be much closer to the customers and vendor partners and on the support side of the business. This puts us one step closer and helps in the speed of execution,” Snider said.

Martin Kalsbeek

Promoting Snider and Spano to the top spot was not a case of Bradley being unable to make up his mind on one of them, Snider said. Kalsbeek also contributed to the decision to move both Snider and Spano to the leadership role, he added.

Kalsbeek decided to leave the job and move back to his home town of Vancouver.

Spano and Snider also said that this move was not an indication that Bradley would be more involved in the Canadian operation.

Snider, who will now be responsible for sales, vendor management and marketing, will continue to report to Brian Wiser, Ingram Micro North America’s senior vice president of sales and vendor management, based in Santa Ana, Calif. Snider said that Wiser has always been in tune to what is happening in the Canadian market.

While both admit it is still early in the new structure, they do have a collective direction for Ingram Micro Canada.

“It is still in development, but between Charlie and I, the Ingram Micro goal is to continue to provide exceptional customer experience and help resellers grow and be profitable. In our own business we want to enable the partnerships from the vendors through the resellers to help the customers. We do not want to say no to any customer,” Snider said.

He and Spano collectively told CDN during the recently concluded Venture Tech Network Invitational conference in Las Vegas that the dual job is “pretty cool.”

Both have worked together in the past, and as they outlined the new strategy for 2008, they said that they draw from each other’s personality when making decisions.

Next year

For 2008, the key message is getting vertical, Snider said. Spano added that coordination with the U.S. operations has improved.

The core business of the broadline distributor has not changed, but it is this coordinated effort with the U.S. that helps Ingram Micro Canada gain new business, keep costs low and add new levels of service.

One of the new additions to the Canadian operation was Avad, which Ingram acquired more than two years ago. Avad, under the leadership of Chris Burns, has been run independently of Ingram.

Ingram Micro Canada will also introduce the ITS Division, which is targeted at the growing trend of server virtualization and storage consolidation.

“This is just another new market and moves us up the value chain,” Snider said.

Snider said the ITS Division is one of those new services that makes the broadliner more value based. Snider and Spano plan to use some of the U.S. operations’ resources in ITS for technical support for the Canadian roll out.

2007 was also a year of departure for the distributor. Besides Kalsbeek, long-time chief executive Kevin Murai left the company for family reasons.

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

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