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By | Paul Kunert 4th September 2012 14:05

Tech Data taps up ex-Acetebis CEO Michael Urban

New senior veep for Euro volume biz has his work cut out

Tech Data has drafted in distie veteran and one-time Actebis CEO Michael Urban to tune its volume sales business.

Unveiled today as TD's senior veep for broadline and processes in Europe, Urban - who has also bagged a seat on the exec board - will report to regional president Nestor Cano.

Cano said in a canned statement that his new signing has a track record of boosting sales in "rapidly changing conditions".

Distributors are still getting their heads around the impact of the cloud computing bandwagon, and are trying to offset ever falling or at best flatlining product margins by developing their own services portfolio and aggregating cloud providers.

Urban, who led Actebis as MD, then CEO and chairman for a total of 13 years until the end of 2003, has since founded telco startup Cargo AG and headed up a management buyout of Actebis OEM division Targa.

Ironically, it was sales pressure from TD and arch rival Ingram Micro that hardened Actebis parent Otto Group's decision to exit IT distribution in the 2000s.

The parent closed certain country operations, including the UK, in 2007 before selling four units - Germany, Austria, France and the Netherlands - to Arques Industries that year.

In a further twist, Actebis then merged with Schindler-owned distributor Also in the summer of 2010 to form a near €10bn wholesaler.

Urban, like many distie execs in the current leaner sales environment, has his work cut out at TD - the company recently filed a 7.6 per cent slip in Q2 sales to $5.96bn as profits tumbled 26 per cent to $51.7m.

The firm blamed a foreign currency headwind and competitive pricing pressures on the bottom line slump, a change in the way it reports vendor warranty services and some fulfilment contracts for the sales dip.

TD doesn't expect the outlook to improve massively in its fiscal Q3 either, with sales forecast to decline by mid-single digits in the Americas (40 per cent of group sales) and rise by the same in euros in Europe. ®

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