Two of Westcon’s top European executives have resigned amid rumours of a clash with US management over the distributor’s strategic direction.
Executive vice president of Westcon Group Europe, Barry Shakespeare, and European financial director, Jon Toohey, are both leaving the US-based firm.
Toohey has already been replaced by Richard Hodgetts, who was previously Westcon Group’s UK finance director, while Shakespeare is leaving his post effective 30 January 2009.
Westcon has acknowledged that trading conditions in both the US and Europe remain “challenging” and last month made about 20 UK-based staff redundant.
But sources close to events claim the shake-up may be related to a difference over strategy between European and US management.
While Shakespeare was said to be keen to develop new opportunities around services, onlookers claim Westcon Group’s chief operating officer, Dean Douglas, holds a more back-to-basics view of distribution. In its accompanying statement, Westcon did not comment on the reasons for the duo’s departure.
But the distributor confirmed it has begun the process of evaluating candidates for Shakespeare’s replacement. It is thought Douglas may be keen to bring in someone from outside the firm.
A former Motorola and IBM executive, Douglas was taken on by Westcon president Tom Dolan in June and is responsible for the distributor’s worldwide operational activities.
Westcon Group’s three European arms, Comstor, Westcon Convergence and Westcon Security, are headed up by Jon Pritchard, David Grant and Willem de Haan, respectively.
Commenting on Hodgetts’ promotion, John O'Malley, chief financial officer of Westcon Group, said in a statement: “Richard brings an enormous breadth of experience and deep relationships with both customers and vendors alike to his new role.”
Hodgetts added: “Over the past several years, we have realised enormous efficiencies by centralising our European operations.
“Our customers continue to experience the benefits of this on a pan-European basis as we become their trusted partner for local, regional and global transactions. I look forward to working with the entire finance team and delivering even greater opportunity on behalf of our customers.”
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