Philip Norton, the visionary leader who transformed ePlus from a leasing company into a billion-dollar consulting powerhouse, has announced his intent to retire his position as an employee, effective July 31.
Norton will continue to serve on the board of directors as executive chairman.
"While ePlus will always be an integral part of me, I feel it is time to fully pass the reins to the extremely capable team in place as I begin the next phase of my life," Norton said in a statement.
Norton joined ePlus in 1993 – three years after the company started -- when he was named chairman and CEO. At the time, ePlus was a leasing provider and a value-added reseller. Norton took the company public in 1996 and grew it into a provider of complex IT solutions, with a global presence of more than 40 locations in the U.S., Europe and Asia-Pacific, and a customer base of 3,200 across a wide range of industries.
The Herndon, Va. based company grew from $42.8 million of annual revenue in 1996, when he took ePlus public, to $1.4 billion in 2018. ePlus is No. 34 on the 2018 CRN Solution Provider 500.
In June 2016, Norton rang the opening bell at the Nasdaq to celebrate 20 years trading on the exchange. Later that year he passed the CEO title to Mark Marron, who is also president of the solution provider.
“Phil shaped the culture of ePlus, which is one of impeccable integrity, true collaboration, and a strong sense of camaraderie,” Marron said in a statement. “Without his leadership and direction, ePlus would not be who we are today. We are fortunate to continue to benefit from his experience and insight through his sustained involvement on the board. On behalf of the entire ePlus family and our board of directors, we thank Phil for his enormous contributions and wish him and his wife, Pat, the best life has to offer.”
Prior to his tenure at ePlus, Norton started Systems Leasing Corporation in 1978 and sold it to PacifiCorp in 1985. At the time of his departure in 1990, PacifiCorp held assets of more than $800 million and was one of the largest third-party lessors in the country. Norton is a 1966 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy.
“I want to thank the board and the ePlus management team, our employees, our partners, our customers, and our shareholders,” Norton said. “I look forward to my continued service on the ePlus board, and have the utmost confidence in Mark and the leadership team as they guide ePlus’ evolution and success.”