In yet another shock move for distribution, Ian French, president of Bell Microproducts Europe, has left the company "to pursue other interests".
Don Bell, chief executive of Bell Microproducts worldwide, said French's departure was a friendly parting, and he would still work with Bell on a consultancy basis in the short term.
"It was a mutual decision that Ian would leave. It was agreed more than three years ago when Bell first acquired Ideal," he said.
Martin Blaney, chief operating officer at Bell, has been appointed to step into French's shoes until a permanent replacement can be found.
Although Bell declined to comment on where French was heading, he told CRN he was confident about the firm's future.
"I'm very optimistic for 2004," he said. "I believe the IT recession is finally ending, and we are one of the few distributors to have come out of the recession stronger than when we went in."
He added that Bell was looking to expand in Europe and make some acquisitions.
French is the second European supremo to leave a distributor, following Graeme Watt's resignation from his post as president of Tech Data's European operations last year. There was more upheaval at Tech Data last month when UK managing director Julian Klein stepped down.
Tech Data was tight-lipped about linking French to any vacant positions at the firm. A representative of Tech Data said: "As a matter of policy we don't confirm or deny speculation about our company. We have not filled the position or made any announcements on those lines."
French was unavailable for comment as CRN went to press.
Another rumour doing the rounds is speculation that French could possibly take a position at Ingram Micro Europe.
But a US representative of Ingram said: "We do not comment on rumours, and Greg [Spierkel] will continue to be president of Ingram Micro Europe."
Nitin Joshi, partner at PKF, said: "It is time for musical chairs in distribution. Distributors are reviewing their own organisational structures and optimising management strata.
"Some distributors have paid homage to corporatist hierarchies, which is quite the wrong thing to do, but the scramble to become pan-European means only people who can add real value need apply for the post."
Vendor's announcements include AI-powered Microsoft Office, a move away from password verification and an alliance with Adobe and SAP
Vendor claims hackers are hijacking machines to mine for cryptocurrency
Nearly half of SMBs are planning to invest in digital workflows to reduce their paper-based processes by 2025, according to Quocirca
The charter has pulled together the biggest names in tech in an unprecedented attempt to address the tech industry's lack of diversity. Tom Wright asks how it plans to do it