Incoming Tech Data CEO Rich Hume -- a 35-year channel veteran who has time and again helped partners adopt new business models in a fast-moving market -- is the right executive to lead the distributor into the future, said solution providers.
Frank Vitagliano, CEO of Houston-based Computex Technology Solutions, No. 121 on the 2017 CRN Solution Provider 500, said Hume's knowledge of all sides of the business will benefit Tech Data and the entire channel ecosystem as partners come to grips with new recurring revenue models.
"Rich is the perfect executive to take the CEO role, with traditional business models changing rapidly for solution providers and vendors because of cloud, [Artificial Intelligence] and Internet of Things," said Vitagliano. "Rich understands both the vendor and partner side of the business as we move from Capex to Opex, on-premises to off-premises. You need someone that understands all the pieces, including the financial aspects, to help both partners and vendors navigate this transition. Tech Data, the partners and vendors are really lucky to have him in this role right now."
Hume's impressive resume includes a 33-year channel-focused career at IBM that included running IBM's global partners business and the $32 billion IBM global technology services business before joining Tech Data two years ago as COO.
Vitagliano, who worked at IBM with Hume and has known him for 25 years, said the Tech Data CEO job is a crowning achievement for an executive of high integrity and character. "Rich has an unbelievable resume," said Vitagliano. "He is the perfect guy for this job."
Vitagliano and other partners also praised the strong leadership of Tech Data CEO Bob Dutkowsky -- who has been at the helm for the distributor for the last 12 years.
Dutkowsky, who will officially hand over the reins to Hume on June 6, engineered Tech Data's blockbuster $2.6 billion acquisition last year of value-added distributor Avnet. That deal created for the first time ever a distributor with the best of both the value-added and volume distribution models.
Partners credited Dutkowsky with the vision to build a distribution behemoth with a single, end-to-end solutions model from consumer devices to complex data center and cloud infrastructure. During the Dutkowsky era, Tech Data sales soared from $21 billion to $36 billion, while at the same time delivering a 550 percent increase in non-GAAP earnings per share for investors.
Sam Ruggeri, president of Advanced Vision Technology Group, Hauppauge, N.Y., one of the top security and managed service solution providers in the country, credited Dutkowsky with driving Tech Data's Tech Select VAR community from 42 members to 460 members.
"Bob Dutkowsky really believed in us," said Ruggeri, a past Tech Select President and advisory board member who has worked with the distributor for 25 years. "Bob took Tech Select to another level. He has really left Rich Hume with a strong platform to build on with the Avnet acquisition. Tech Data is now far more than a pick-and-pack distributor. It's a full-services distributor that is truly needed in this marketplace right now. Bob set the standard."
While praising Dutkowsky, Ruggeri said there is no better choice to lead Tech Data into the future than Hume -- who has a long history of partner advocacy. "Rich Hume's string of successes makes him the right choice to drive Tech Data into the digital transformation era," said Ruggeri. "Rich is a global executive with deep knowledge of the market including cloud, information security and governance."
Ruggeri, who was a devoted IBM partner during Hume's tenure there, said Hume has always distinguished himself as a hands-on executive that goes above and beyond to help partners. "Rich always had his ear to the ground to see what he could do to help partners grow the IBM business," said Ruggeri. "He listens and gets things done. We led with IBM because he was in charge. With Rich, there is always genuine concern and respect for the channel and clients."
Bob Venero, CEO of Holbrook, N.Y.-based solution provider Future Tech, called Hume the "right executive at the right time" to lead Tech Data into the future.
"Having a leader like Rich who understands the leading technology offerings and services tied to cloud computing and Software-as-a-Service is going to be key to driving more value-added services and solutions to the partner community beyond box-pushing initiatives," said Venero. "This is a time for distribution to double down on value-add for partners, and there is no better executive to do that than Rich Hume."
Venero said Hume's operational excellence will be key to helping the channel ecosystem prosper in the digital transformation era. "There is no doubt he knows the channel inside and out and will absolutely be able to bring that thought leadership and channel experience to Tech Data," said Venero, who has known Hume for two decades. "Tech Data has become a bigger distribution partner for us over the last year and we look forward to that continuing under Rich's leadership."