Westcon's chief operating officer has hit back at suggestions a difference in strategy contributed to the departure of two of the distributor's European executives.
Executive vice president of Westcon Group Europe Barry Shakespeare and European financial director Jon Toohey both resigned last week. Speculation emerged that the resignations were fuelled by a clash with chief operating officer Dean Douglas over the company's services strategy.
Sources suggested Shakespeare was keen to explore more opportunities around the distributor's services offering which contrasted with Douglas' more traditional approach to distribution. But Douglas told CRN the rumours had no truth to them and asserted that he was committed to bolstering Westcon's services offering.
"It is not appropriate for me to speculate on their reasons for leaving," he said. "Part of it may be the fact that we have new management and there may be other motivations. I have a strong services background and would like to see Westcon get into services more, although we do not want to compete with our customers. We have a fairly significant services offering and are working aggressively to try and drive that."
Toohey has already been replaced by Richard Hodgetts, who was previously Westcon's UK finance director. Douglas claimed his appointment was an easy decision. "Richard has been doing that job for a few years and has proved himself to be very capable," said Douglas. "He is the natural person to step into Jon Toohey's shoes and it was an obvious next step for him."
The hunt for Shakespeare's successor has already begun with the evaluation of internal candidates and Douglas claimed his preference would be to promote from within. "One of the things our acquisitions of Noxs and Crane have given us is a top bunch of executives in Europe," he said. "It is probably the most robust group of executives we have in any of the regions."
Douglas revealed a successor could be unveiled within two months although he claimed that, if an external candidate was appointed, it could take somewhat longer. In the interim, Douglas is handling European duties and he indicated he was looking forward to the role.
"This will give me more insight and I have a real affinity with doing business in Europe," he said. "I feel very comfortable in Europe and expect to spend at least two full weeks a month there, depending on the demands on my time. I am looking forward to being very much involved."
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