Distributor hires vendor execs into senior roles as former COO returns after 12-month hiatus
Exclusive Networks' former COO Barrie Desmond has returned to the distributor, claiming he has "unfinished business" at the firm.
Desmond announced his resignation in October 2018, telling CPI that he had "done his bit" at Exclusive Networks after a seven-year stint that saw the French distributor expand across Europe, APAC and the US through M&A and undergo a change of ownership.
But now the former COO is back, this time joining the distributor as SVP of marketing and communications.
Speaking to CPI about his appointment, Desmond said he was drawn back to Exclusive because he believed he has "unfinished business" with the distributor.
"I've had a good year away, I was ‘chief skiing officer' for a while, I had lots of R&R and lots of time to reflect and now I'm back and really excited about what we've got ahead of us here at Exclusive," he said.
"I feel that there's a bit of unfinished business to be done and I think during my year out I realised that."
Desmond's new role will see him becoming "the voice of Exclusive" and an evangelist for the firm as he executes on its marketing strategy. Andy Travers remains in his post as EVP of worldwide sales and marketing.
Desmond's appointment is just one of four new senior hires at Exclusive Networks. The firm has installed three other vendor execs - from SAP, Gigamon and Fortinet - into regional positions.
Gerard Allison, who was Juniper Networks' EMEA boss before moving to security vendor Gigamon, will now lead Exclusive Networks' EMEA business.
Meanwhile, Exclusive's Americas operation, which is largely based on its acquisitions of Fine Tec in the US and Canada in 2017 and 2019 respectively, will be run by former Fortinet VP Scott Lewis.
Finally, former SAP exec Brad Gray has been appointed as Exclusive's SVP for APAC.
Taking a global advantage
Now a global player with operations in more than 100 countries, Exclusive Networks is no longer the niche security player it started out as in 2003. Its expansions into Asia, North America and most recently Israel has created a business with revenues in excess of €2bn in revenues.
The security VAD has posted blistering growth in consecutive fiscal years, with its latest available results, for its full-year 2017, displaying 38 per cent revenue growth to €1.75bn.
Desmond said that Exclusive has entered a new phase of maturity which has brought it into closer competition with the industry's giants such as Tech Data, Arrow and Ingram.
"You're right, we are in that position where the big boys can take pot shots at us," he said.
But Allison was adamant that Exclusive Networks will continue to outpace the market despite its larger size.
"From an EMEA perspective, in some regions we will continue to outpace the market. In the more mature markets, we'll keep pace with that. The space were in, security and cloud, is the fastest growing and it hasn't plateaued out at all so we will continue to take market share in this space.
"Do we see the business doubling? Well, I don't think anybody sees that when they get to the level of maturity of our business. But we will see some of our vendors doing that over the coming years. We will continue to outpace and that is fantastic."
Desmond added that Exclusive Networks' new global reach will mean that the firm will be able to land global customers such as global systems integrators, service providers and mobile operators.
"We'll see the benefit of being more relevant to the global players," he said. "It's no easy feat trying to get on their purchasing agreements."
Becoming one name
The marketing and communications boss said that a "positive" decision was made last year to collapse Exclusive Networks' sub brands: Bigtec, Exclusive Capital and ITEC.
Formerly called Exclusive Group, the firm has now reverted back to its original name - Exclusive Networks.
Desmond said that those brands had "done their job" in bringing new customers to the business, but it was now time to lean into the "power" of the Exclusive brand.
"Bigtec was a dislocation away from cybersecurity into cloud and hyper compute, but we needed those specialist people and the know-how and the specialist partners and it did its job for four years.
"We expanded into a whole range of resellers, integrators and cloud companies that really wanted that expertise in this innovative new field. And we feel we've done that now, similarly with Exclusive Capital when we went into leasing and financial based solutions. So it was a positive decision to collapse back to the core company Exclusive," he said.