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Tech Data’s Sammy Kinlaw On Why He Left Lexmark, Opportunity At The Endpoint

O’Ryan Johnson

‘I knew this was a job I could sink my teeth into. I knew they would give me the autonomy to grow and explore,’ says Sammy Kinlaw, new senior vice president of endpoint solutions for the Americas at Tech Data.

So what made you think about a move?

Things were going great at Lexmark. Tech Data asked me to consider this role. When I thought about it, I’ve said on main stage, whether I’ve been at a VAR event or another distributor event, you know my career at IBM, Lenovo and Lexmark was really based on relationships with distribution.

I did recognize early on that, with distribution, your reach and what you can build could be 10X compared to if you tried to do it on your own. Whether it’s from a VAR community, an e-tail community, retail community, any manufacturer is going to struggle to maintain all those individual, small relationships. A distributor can do the heavy lifting on all of those.

I certainly was able to leverage that at Lenovo, where the primary relationships, financial relationships work through distribution. VARs would buy through the distributors. Then through Lexmark, I expanded that even further by utilizing the reach of the distributor to introduce us to accounts where we didn’t have any presence.

When [Tech Data President of the Americas] John [O’Shea] and [CEO] Rich [Hume] talked to me, I knew this was a job I could sink my teeth into. I knew they would give me the autonomy to grow and explore.

So Tech Data, newly acquired from Apollo Global Management, it’s clear they want to expand and they have the investment to do that. My goal is to not walk in as a bull in a china shop, but certainly listen, take it all in, and then use the experiences I have of running three very large manufacturers to find what are the tweaks? What are the changes? What are the updates? How do we want to message? How do we want to position ourselves? All of that is going to be my focus for day one, week one, month one.

Learn More: Distribution
O’Ryan Johnson

O’Ryan Johnson is a veteran news reporter. He covers the data center beat for CRN and hopes to hear from channel partners about how he can improve his coverage and write the stories they want to read. He can be reached at

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