Exclusive Networks CEO Olivier Breittmayer has stepped down after 17 years with the cybersecurity distributor.
The long-time CEO will become a non-executive board member of Exclusive Networks and will retain his shares in the business.
Former president of the Americas at Arrow ECS, Jesper Trolle, will take over as chief executive of Paris-based Exclusive Networks with immediate effect.
Trolle has spent more than 28 years in the channel - initially at a reseller before moving to distribution. He founded Next Denmark in 2001, which was acquired by DNS Denmark, and then in turn bought by his long-time employer Arrow in 2005.
He spent 15 years at Arrow ECS, holding various roles including VP of central and eastern Europe, VP of north west Europe and his most recent post as president of Arrow ECS' Americas operations.
Breittmayer will be on hand for three months to assist Trolle in moving to the new role.
Speaking to Channel Partner Insight ahead of the announcement, Breittmayer said upon leaving Exclusive he intends to free up time to invest in other investment opportunities as a non-executive, but also to pursue his passion for racing classic cars.
" I have some other investment opportunities where I am non-exec so I will continue that," he said. "And I have a passion for classic cars. I am doing some races, so I will do more and more races, that is my new career," he laughed.
He said that he approached Exclusive's investors, Permira, at the start of the year to discuss his resignation.
"It was important that we could make a smooth transition and we have a good management team in place. It will give time for Jesper to understand the company and work on more long-term projects without having to deal with any emergencies. So it is the right timing to do it."
Breittmayer said that Exclusive has performed extremely well during the COVID-19 pandemic, claiming that its EBITDA has grown by more than 20 per cent over the last six months.
The former CEO began an extensive search for his replacement in February before the COVID-19 pandemic reached Europe.
Exclusive Networks interviewed many candidates for the role, but Jesper was the stand-out choice. Breittmayer pointed to Trolle's 28 years in the industry, his international experience and his understanding of M&A and the financial side of the distribution business.
"And last but not least he is compatible with the culture of the company. So it is important we have someone who understands the company and what we want to achieve and to continue that long-term."
Breittmayer orchestrated more than 20 acquisitions as Exclusive Networks' CEO. He took the firm from its humble beginnings as a French distributor in 2003 to a key player on the global stage through acquisitions across Europe and internationally. Exclusive Networks now has more than €3bn in revenues and 3,000 staff across 50 countries globally.
Reflecting on his 17-year stint at the distributor, Breittmayer said that his career highlight was being the first to bring the idea of exclusivity to the distribution game.
"When we decided to have a different model than the competition, to negotiate with the vendors for sole distribution and exclusivity, that made a big difference. It is really what helped the company to grow faster than the competition, to take market share, and it has really made a big difference," he said.
"A second one is when we decided to use all of the leverage of finance," he continued. "That helped us to accelerate the growth through acquisitions to build a big business. And it has been very successful," he added.
Trolle (pictured) meanwhile said that joining Exclusive Networks as CEO is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
"After 23 years in distribution, sometimes you step back and wonder if you should do something else other than distribution. If I ever wanted to make a ch
ange, there's only one company I would consider and that's Exclusive Networks. So when I first got the call about this opportunity, it took me about 10 seconds to figure it out. From then onwards quite frankly I was quite determined to try and make that work. So I am super excited to join and it's a great time to join at the next stage of growth," he said.
Trolle will relocate from Denver in the US to Paris within the next couple of months, he said.
"I would like to bring my experience from an international business into Exclusive and help accelerate what Olivier and the team have built. I think the last two acquisitions is a testament to that," he said.
"And I think there's still several opportunities out there both organic and non-organic which we can pursue. We want to continue to build out true global coverage for a specialist distribution business, which I wholeheartedly agree is not something that exists anywhere else."
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