John Paget Talks About Synnex

Former GE Access exec settles into new role as distributor's COO and president

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Synnex has certainly kept momentum in its favor since going public last November. In addition to posting two impressive quarters, the upstart IT distributor upped the ante yet again by snagging former GE Access president John Paget as its new corporate COO and president of the Americas.

Paget will assume much of the distributor's operational responsibilities, managing day-to-day activities in the distribution and integration centers. He'll also take a larger role in customer advocacy for the channel and work closely with Synnex CEO Bob Huang. "The resellers that know me know that I am passionate about their success," Paget says.

No doubt. Paget says he has received more than 200 phone calls from solution-provider contacts that are interested in doing business with Synnex now. Here's what Paget had to say to VARBusiness about Synnex and his new role.

VB: How did this deal take shape? What was it about Synnex that drew you to the company?

I've known Bob [Huang] for a number of years, and respected his integrity and the way he has built this company. As I watched what he was doing and then thought about what I wanted to do with the rest of my career, it seemed like a perfect fit. My passion is the distribution business. And if I were going to choose a distributor and the person running that business, my first choice would be Synnex and Bob. So it was very fortunate the way it worked out.

It's hard to say how it took shape because it all happened so quickly. Bob and I had talked over the years as compatriots, and we had been talking recently about where the business is going, where broadline is going and where enterprise is going. So we just looked up at one another and said, "You know, this might work out."

VB: What do you see as the major
differences between broadline and enterprise distribution?

As you look at the marketplace today, there's a propensity of end users requiring the resellers to deliver a solution. I think there needs to be a sort of integration between broadline and enterprise distribution so they can come together and better serve the reseller. You're still going to have some very narrow, enterprise-level specialty distributors in the market, and that's not going away. But I see all the broadline distributors moving up the [value-added services] line. And that's an exciting thing for me because it brings more of my enterprise experience into play.

I've worked for major manufacturers and VARs, as well as a specialty distributor and GE Capital, so I've got some pretty broad experience. All those elements are important in understanding how the supply chain works. Clearly, the vendors are coming more readily to distribution today, and they're finding it's more cost-effective to use that supply-chain route than go direct.

VB: In your view, what has made Synnex so successful and unique?

One of the great things about Synnex is that it's a very efficient organization. The systems here give us maximum visibility. It's a very well-run, growing organization. Synnex also has a focus on its vendor population that is deep in its understanding. It's not supporting 60,000 vendors. Clearly, we'll be adding new vendors. And we're well along with moving to offer a high-level services and enterprise business into the existing operation. That all goes back to Bob. He's a very decisive individual, and this company is able to know where it is on a daily basis and make changes quickly to get to new opportunities.

VB: Given your background at GE Access, will Synnex be looking at Sun Microsystems in a new light?

It's too soon to say at this point. We already have a very large relationship with Sun in our integration business, and we enjoy that business. Sun is certainly changing a lot, and that's going to be fun to watch. They have a new management team, and their focus and technology strategy is correct. So I think we'll see a new, revitalized Sun that's going to be a much broader company that will play in a lot of different places than they play today.

VB: What are the major challenges ahead for Synnex?

I think they're marketplace challenges. There are messages here that are much different than the Synnex being known as the price and low-cost leader because we do so much more than that. And there's nothing wrong with the price leader, as long as you can offer the services to go along with it so you can make a difference for the reseller. I've never had a reseller ask me to charge him more.

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