"I'm inherently impatient so I want to move fast."
Given that Exertis' new managing director Tim Griffin has spent time across Europe, the US, Asia and Australia in just his first six weeks in charge, this comment seems justified.
Griffin joined Exertis last month, having most recently been CEO of Dell EMC UK. This was his last role of a 14-year spell with Dell that saw the exec also hold high-level positions in Asia.
Griffin's experience in global roles is fitting for Exertis, given that the distributor is itself putting the foundations in place for international expansion.
Having acquired numerous times across Europe over recent years, the Irish firm recently took its first steps into the US via the acquisition of AV distributor Stampede.
While based in America, Stampede also has small operations in the UK, Canada and Australia.
Griffin told CRN that his global experience, and Exertis' global aspirations, were key factors to the matchmaking.
"That was important as we look to try to expand in both the Americas and Asia," he said.
"I have experience in both, doing global jobs and having been based in Singapore for 10 years, and Australia for three years before that.
"I think that was an important part, but the other part is the breadth of areas that I've worked in. Services is a big part; I've built services organisations from the ground up and there is a strong ambition here and I think I can help in that space. International and services are the two key things that influenced it in my direction."
To aid Exertis' expansion plans, Griffin said that he has spent the early parts of his tenure getting to know the various business units at the distributor.
But what is equally important, he said, is to put the structure in place from a people perspective.
"There is ambition to grow but that actually starts from the foundations you put in place," he explained.
"Obviously this is a great place to work but I believe in shifting right all the time and seeing how you can keep improving.
"My business philosophy is around people and numbers, in that order. If you're going to grow - which is what we have an ambition to do - it has to be based on solid foundations, so I'm spending quite a lot of time on the people agenda."
Hammer and tongs
Griffin's appointment bolsters a senior leadership team that also includes Gerry O'Keeffe, who is managing director of Exertis Distribution; and Paul Bryan, who is UK managing director of consumer, business and enterprise. The former Dell exec's role as group managing director will see him oversee the whole of Exertis Distribution, as well as DCC's Exertis Supply Chain business.
A main focus for Griffin in his early stages at Exertis, he explained, is establishing how the different parts of the organisation can work better together.
Exertis has already taken steps to start this process by merging its enterprise division with Hammer, which it acquired in 2016, last month.
"There is a real appetite [from the leadership team] to go to the next level in terms of collaboration across the group," Griffin said.
"We have been incredibly successful under Niall's [Ennis, departed group MD] great leadership, but there is an ambition to see if we can bring the sum of the parts together and create an even bigger organisation.
"I have had the leadership team together and I've been really impressed with the quality of the business and the dynamic.
"Gerry will report to me and focus on the Exertis Distribution brand, Paul runs the biggest part of our portfolio today, and outside Exertis we have Supply Chain Services. Pulling all those pieces together and finding the commonality that holds those pearls together is the brief [for me]."
Exertis is currently going through a period of growth that saw its annual revenues top £3bn for the first time in its last financial year.
At the time, MD Gerry O'Keeffe told CRN that the firm was looking to bolster its capabilities further in Europe - both by leveraging Hammer's pan-European presence and through acquisitions.
Since then Exertis has acquired Stampede, giving it a foothold in the US and Australia, which it plans to use as a springboard for further expansion into Asia.
Griffin said his immediate plan is to assess how Exertis and Stampede can share capabilities across their respective geographies to expand both brands.
From a Stampede perspective, he is hopeful that some of Exertis' vendor partners in Europe will show an interest in moving into the US with the newly acquired brand.
"The next few months is predominately a period of consolidation," he said.
"Obviously Stampede was predominately North American but we had operations in the UK, Nordics and Asia. I'm inherently impatient so I want to move fast, but we'll look to see what they can catch in terms of capabilities from their existing operations, and then what they can throw for us to catch, so we can grow in North America."
Griffin said no definite plans have been made for the Exertis brand to enter the US market, claiming that it would not make sense to rebrand an organisation such as Stampede, which holds credibility in its name.
However, he did hint that the Exertis name will be in the US soon, one way or another.
"How you integrate businesses after an acquisition is one of the things that we grapple with," he explained.
"My view is that part of what we have bought is the brand.
"Other brands have come in and become ‘Exertis X' and over time become Exertis Enterprise or Exertis AV [for example], which describes what we do as a specialist. That is an important part of how we can expect to see this play out.
"Expect to see Exertis bubble up in the Americas, but don't expect to see Stampede disappear overnight. That is absolutely not my ambition."
On the other side
On a personal note, with Exertis being a Dell EMC distributor Griffin is spending a fair amount of time speaking to his old colleagues.
The main difference of leading a distributor compared with a vendor, he said, is the span of the portfolio he is overseeing.
"There is a significant difference," he said. "The breadth is very different. Every vendor, by definition, will have a relatively narrow portfolio - and I say that being respectful of Dell having enormous capability, but if we're representing 500 brands we have a broader proposition.
"But I spent 14 years at Dell and they are a bit like family, but a lot of those family members left Dell and are at a multitude of other vendors so the community is fairly broad, but it is always funny bumping into colleagues at other roles.
"In the same way I have just finished a meeting with a reseller who has a major part of his business with Dell, and he was telling me things that he would never tell me when I was at Dell, so it is a very interesting transition to being on the other side of the fence, but it is one that I am enjoying."
XMA bosses on becoming a 'performance VAR', pocketing £50m of Misco leftovers, and acquisition near-misses
Lee Hemani and Andy Wright reveal that XMA is aiming to boost net profits to three per cent of revenues as they run through the growth ambitions of the UK's ninth-largest reseller
The biggest threat to any company's security strategy is actually their own staff. At this exclusive CRN event next month, find out how you can help your customers ensure they stay protected from within as well as from external threats.
Businesses also admit to holding data without permission of subjects
Zedsphere says end-point security vendor's offerings will be a 'key' feature of its wider portfolio