Wayne Channon, chairman and chief executive of Ilion, has assumed networking specialist. day-to-day responsibility for the distributor two years after he relinquished the power, following the swift departure of managing director Allan Mack.
Mack's departure on 2 July ended months of speculation that his appointment in July 1997 had not worked out as planned. As first revealed in PC Dealer, the rumours that Mack was leaving first surfaced in April (PC Dealer, 15 April). At the time, Channon claimed he had 'every confidence in Allan's ability'.
Channon maintained this week that the rumour was not true in April and that a decision about Mack's departure was made on 30 June. He claimed Mack and himself suffered from 'differing aspirations over the future direction and focus for our UK sales efforts and business activities'.
There was speculation that Mack had been pushing Ilion down the broadline distributor path, copying what he had done at his previous employer, Frontline.
Channon said networking was key to the future of Ilion but it was the sales focus that had been an issue.
Channon refused to attribute Ilion's sales performance to Mack's way of running of the distributor. In May, Ilion was forced to issue its second profit warning in six months after admitting to a disastrous April, which caused its share price to plunge by 80 pence. He pointed out that the market was growing at a rate of about 20 per cent, but Ilion had not achieved its budget targets despite hitting 22 per cent growth. 'You can't direct our performance at one person,' claimed Channon.
One industry observer commented: 'With all the problems that Azlan has been having, Ilion should have been there cleaning up the market but it just hasn't been able to capitalise on someone else's misfortunes.'
Sources close to Ilion claimed staff were happy about Mack leaving, as he had caused unrest within the company because staff had leftand others were looking to move.
One source said: 'Ilion is a much smaller company than Frontline and it is easier to see what people are up to.' Channon commented: 'People feel happier as a well known quantity is back. When you are a founder you have a much better understanding of the business and everyone knows you.'
Channon relinquished managing director responsibility in January 1996 to Roger Paul, now the UK managing director of rival distributor Landis.
Channon will continue to be chairman and CEO.
'I am very excited about taking over again. The UK is the largest part of the organsiation and it is very important to me,' commented Channon, adding that he had no plans to find a replacement managing director.
Mack refused to comment.
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