Comparex has stressed its decision to open an office in York is not designed to antagonise the city's three existing Microsoft LARs.
The software licensing specialist, which recently rebranded from PC-Ware, has recruited former Trustmarque sales director Tim Dickens to build a northern sales team based at the new premises.
The York office will be launched within two to three weeks, with headcount planned to reach between eight and 10 by March and 40 to 50 within three years.
Three other Microsoft LARs – Trustmarque, SBL and Phoenix – already call York home.
However, Mike Chambers (pictured), managing director of Comparex UK, said his firm is not "picking a fight" with anyone and that most of the new recruits would likely be industry newcomers.
"Our plan is very much to recruit net new people to the IT industry," said Chambers. "There are not enough new people being brought into the software licensing industry and this is a big issue for customers, Microsoft and the LARs. Softcat has done a very good job of doing this and we would like to do the same thing – by hiring apprentices to the Microsoft licensing and IT industry – in York."
Chambers said Comparex's focus on global accounts – it has global LAR status – contrasts with the UK mid-market and public sector bent of York's three existing protagonists.
"Nobody really likes having a competitor set up shop outside their door," Chambers said. "But what we do is very different from those LARs so we should not be competing with them."
Comparex would adopt a generally more decentralised approach, in line with its native Germany where there are five offices, Chambers added. This might see the Harrow-based LAR also open offices in Scotland and Wales, he claimed.
"We would like to have a more regional approach so we can spend more time with customers," Chambers said.
York fitted the bill because of its large student population and because Comparex already has several customers there. "York seems to be a city that is interested in IT and the tech industry - for instance the council recently set up a project to give people free Wi-Fi," Chambers added.
Dickens, who left Trustmarque two years ago following a top management shake-up, also lives in York.
Separately, former CMS Peripherals executive Bruce Andrews has joined Comparex in the post of business manager for storage, to help the VAR expand its presence with the likes of EMC and HDS.
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