Black Box's Board Names New CEO, Company's Second In Two Years, Amid Persistent Sales Woes

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The leadership shuffle continues at solution provider Black Box, whose board of directors said Friday that Joel Trammell will replace E.C. Sykes as CEO, effective immediately.

Sykes, who will retire, departs in the wake of continued financial troubles for the Lawrence, Pa.-based telecom specialist, No. 40 on the 2017 CRN Solution Provider 500. Revenue has declined to $194.2 million for the most recent fiscal quarter ended Sept. 30 from $218.8 million, down 11.2 percent year over year. Black Box also has seen its stock price steadily fall from $15.35 to $3.00 over the past year. 

Trammell has been on the Black Box board since June 2013, during which time he also served as CEO of Austin, Texas-based business insight software developer Khorus. He is also a managing partner of Lake Austin Advisors and private equity firm Lone Rock Technology Group.

[Related: After Rocky Year, New Black Box CEO Takes Aim At Turnaround]

"I have known Joel for a long time and been associated with his business successes," board chairman Thomas Greig said in a statement. "He brings a strong record of leading technology companies through significant change. We are looking for him to drive a culture of performance throughout the organization."

Black Box could not be reached for further comment.

Sykes took the executive helm at Black Box in February 2016 near the peak of the company's sales woes. His arrival followed the resignation of predecessor Michael McAndrew, under whom Black Box saw its stock price tumble nearly 64 percent from $21.01 to $7.62 in 2015.

McAndrew hammered his sales team toward the end of his tenure, calling its performance "unacceptable" during an October 2015 earnings call for failing to increase midmarket revenue. At the time, he said that had been the primary area of focus driving a major sales reorganization initiative, which saw Black Box replace around 30 percent of its sales staff in less than two years.

When Skyes took over, he promised to increase the company focus on expanding into faster-growing markets. That included the April 2016 purchase of desktop virtualization specialist Cloudium, a 12-employee company based in Limerick, Ireland.

But Sykes' efforts did not produce quick financial gains, as Black Box revenue and earnings have continued to fall. More recently, Sykes outlined a slew of problems during the company's August earnings call, including issues around centralizing its European supply chain and back-office efforts as well as delays involving its ERP integration service provider.

"We thank E.C. for his leadership and personal commitment to the company through difficult aspects of the company's transformation. He leaves us in a better position to execute on our initiatives," Greig said in the same statement.

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