Northamber has drafted in the management consultant son of its chairman, David Phillips, to help steer it back to profitability and growth.
The loss-making distributor confirmed to CRN that Alex Phillips has officially joined in the role of director of strategy after carrying out an advisory role for the last two months.
His arrival sparked rumours that Northamber may be looking to sell up but the distributor has scotched this by clarifying that Phillips' remit is to "guide the company and management towards profitability and new growth areas".
Phillips, who will work alongside other senior management including John Henry, spent the last five years working as a "growth-focused strategy consultant" at Monitor Group.
"The whole team feel very passionate about securing Northamber's long-term future as a partner of choice to all our stakeholders," Phillips said.
Northamber, which recently dropped down from the main market of the London stock exchange to AIM, sank to a pre-tax loss of £1.05m on revenues that fell 23 per cent to £77.5m in its full year to 30 June. However, it remains debt-free and has cash in the bank of £6.13m.
Channel chatter suggested that Phillips may have been drafted in to size up Northamber's assets and there were even rumours that the distributor was courting potential buyers after staff from CMS Distribution were spotted on its premises.
But these rumours appear wide of the mark after CMS managing director Frank Salmon strongly denied there had been any dialogue. "We sell to Northamber so it would not be unusual for our staff to be in their visitor book," he said, adding that the distributor has its hands full integrating recent purchase Interactive Ideas.
For its part, Northamber stressed that Phillips' background lies in growing companies rather than breaking them up or selling them. During his stint at Monitor, he worked with global firms across industries including consumer electronics and consumer goods and declined offers from multinational firms to accept the full-time role at Northamber.
Talking to CRN, Henry described Phillips' arrival as a "very exciting appointment".
"The skills, experience and passion Alex brings into the company from his growth strategy background has been welcomed by the company as we look to enter a new period of growth," Henry said.
Northamber has parted ways with several of its key vendors this year, including IBM and Fujitsu, but rumours that Acer may be following them out the door also appear to be wide of the mark.
"At the moment it is business as normal for Acer and Northamber," said Linda Hassall, head of channel marketing UK & Ireland. "Our strategy for 2014 is one of open distribution, where we deal with all five of our distributors [Northamber, Westcoast, Tech Data, Exertis Micro-P and Ingram Micro] on an equal footing."
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