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CRN Exclusive: Tech Data CEO Dutkowsky On Key Vendor Program Changes, The Distributor's Response And Apple's Enterprise Push

The longtime IT distribution leader provided his perspective on the industry's latest shifts and how Tech Data will look to position its business in the coming months.

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The Shifting Tide

Tech Data CEO Bob Dutkowsky has been in the IT business since 1977, so he's seen the channel tides rise and fall for many years by now. And, surely, that perspective guided Dutkowsky's response to news that "a few" major suppliers made program changes that will hurt the distributor's margins.

"We as a company and the channel as a whole have to absorb the realities of what that program is," Dutkowsky told CRN on Thursday. "As many times as programs go down in value, there's another program that will go up in value. This time around, a few of the vendors that change their programs are amongst their largest vendors. It has an over-weighted impact on the profitability of the company."

The names of the specific vendors making those changes were not disclosed. According to a recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, only three companies generated more than 10 percent of Tech Data's revenue for the nine months ended Oct. 31, 2017: Apple (14 percent), Cisco Systems (10 percent) and HP Inc. (10 percent).

Dutkowsky sat down with CRN shortly after he briefed investors during Tech Data's quarterly earnings call. What follows is an edited excerpt of that conversation, which includes the chief executive's thoughts on channel opportunities, future acquisitions and the potential Dell-VMware reverse merger.

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