5 Things To Know About New Ingram Micro CEO Paul Bay

‘I’m honored to be CEO of such a phenomenal team and build further on our strategic imperatives to transform and modernize the way we do business, remove complexity for our partners, and be an indispensable business behind the many brands we serve,’ Bay says.

Bay Takes The Top Spot

Paul Bay has been named Ingram Micro’s newest CEO after heading the global distributor’s North America business for the past nine years. Bay replaces Alain Monie, who will serve as executive chairman of the company.

Bay has spent about a total of 24 years at Ingram Micro in two stints at the distributor and has served as the president of its Global Technology Solutions business for the past two years.

The new CEO comes in just six months after Ingram Micro was acquired by Platinum Equity and was knocked out of first place as the world’s largest distributor when rivals Tech Data and Synnex merged to form TD Synnex.

But Bay is up for the challenge. Here are five things to know about the new CEO.

5. Second Tour Of Duty At Ingram Micro

Bay actually got his start at Ingram Micro in 2001 as a senior director and over the next 12-plus years eventually rose to the position of senior vice president of vendor management before leaving in early 2006. He returned to Ingram Micro in early 2010 as the executive vice president, North America, and nearly three years later became president, North America. In early 2020, he also took on the role of president of Global Technology Solutions.

4. No Stranger To The CEO Role

Ingram Micro is not the first company to have Bay as its CEO. Bay was CEO of Punch Software for just over four years. He left Punch in the spring of 2010 to return to Ingram Micro.

Punch Software was a home design software company. The company’s assets were purchased just before Bay rejoined Ingram Micro by Encore Software, a wholly owned subsidiary of Navarre Corp. Navarre was later acquired by Wynit Distribution, which later retired the brand. Punch Software still develops home design software.

While at Punch Software, Bay led the company in the acquisition of CadSoft Solutions, a developer of CAD applications for Windows and Macintosh platforms.

3. He’s Focusing On Everything As A Service, But It’s Complex

Bay said distribution is key to facilitating the channel’s move to Everything as a Service, but that it involves a lot of complexity.

During a panel discussion at the GTDC Forum in November, Bay said Everything as a Service is divided into three categories.

“It’s one of the biggest shifts away from the technology itself to really the end users and their needs, which as we know is focused on the business outcome,” he said.

The three categories are new technologies and partners, the channel’s adoption of marketplaces and the continued focus on customer experience.

“And [with] all of these complexities in solutions, we have to drive a more seamless customer experience, which is going to be even more critical. ... I believe the customer experience will be a bigger long-term value driver for technology over the industry transaction because it’s going to come down to that better experience and greater adoption of the technology by the end user,” he said.

2. Sale Of Ingram Micro Freed Up Opportunities

Prior to September 2021, Ingram Micro was owned by China-based HNA Group, a conglomerate that invested all over the world, particularly in the transportation sector. Ingram Micro was HNA’s only foray into IT distribution.

While a part of HNA, Ingram Micro was ringed off separately from the rest of the conglomerate in order to prevent any appearance of Chinese influence in the U.S. IT distribution business. While Ingram Micro’s business, including its U.S. public sector business, did very well during the years it was part of HNA, it had to contend with government oversight.

Bay in July 2021 said the sale of Ingram Micro “absolutely” freed up opportunities for Ingram Micro to do more in the public sector, but he declined to detail what kind of oversight the company had been operating under.

“I can’t go into the details of it, but I would say we had a very solid relationship with CFIUS, which is the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States,” he said. “As we mentioned, we were ‘ring-fenced,’ and that’s why we had the opportunity to really continue to deliver as successfully as we have because we were able to make the investments in our customers and continue to grow.”

1. He’s Ready To Meet The TD Synnex Challenge

After the giant merger of Tech Data and Synnex, now operating under TD Synnex and becoming the world’s largest IT distributor, Bay said he isn’t worried about any competition, noting that it’s all about the customer base.

“It’s the quality of the revenue, too, and the capabilities that we continue to build out,” Bay previously told CRN. “It’s not just about the top line. It’s about the capabilities we’re going to build out. And we have a great, diverse base of revenue across the world.”

With a large presence in Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Bay said Ingram Micro has a “very diverse base” where the $50 billion in revenue on an annualized basis comes from.