In a move that surprises practically no one, Avnet (AVT) today named interim CEO Bill Amelio as permanent CEO of the distributor as the company seeks to turn around its fortunes after a disappointing performance in fiscal year 2016. Amelio has held the interim CEO position since July 11.

Kris Blackmon, Head of Channel Communities

September 6, 2016

4 Min Read
Distribution Watch: Avnet Makes Bill Amelio’s CEO Appointment Permanent

In a move that surprises practically no one, Avnet (AVT) today named interim CEO Bill Amelio as permanent CEO of the distributor as the company seeks to turn around its fortunes after a disappointing performance in fiscal year 2016. Amelio has held the interim CEO position since July 11.

William Schumann, Chairman of the Board, said, “The board, under the leadership of the Corporate Governance Committee and with a nationally recognized executive search firm, conducted a review of both internal and external candidates that could be available and concluded that Bill is the best candidate for the CEO position. Avnet is fortunate to have someone of Bill’s character and experience. He brings energy and focus to the business, and the board unanimously agreed that making him the permanent CEO was in the best interest of our customers, employees and shareholders.”

Hamada had been with Avnet for 32 years in various roles, having joined the company in 1983. He worked his way up from Group President to COO to President & COO before assuming the CEO role in 2011.

Dismal 2016 financial performance

The last year has produced a string of disappointing quarterly earnings, which prompted Avnet’s board of directors to ask former CEO Rick Hamada to step down.

The distributor has experienced revenue and per-share price well below analyst expectations in recent quarters. Year-over-year (YoY) sales figures for Avnet, Inc. have remained stagnant or declined every quarter since Q3 2015. By the time the distributor released its second quarter report for fiscal year 2016 this past January, analysts and concerned investors were raising alarm bells. Total revenue for that quarter decreased 9.3 percent YoY to $6.85 billion, with Avnet’s Technology Solutions division suffering a 12.3 percent decrease

In April, Avnet announced similar third quarter results. Overall company revenue dropped another 8.3 percent to $6.17 billion, and the YoY decline in the Technology Solutions revenue grew to 15.3 percent. As part of this report, the company announced a planned cut to personnel and other expenses of $25 million. By the time the fiscal year ended July 2, the distributor’s net income had fallen 11.4 percent to $506.5 million.

“Avnet’s Board of Directors believed that a change in leadership was needed to accelerate progress on Avnet’s growth, drive a greater sense of urgency and enhance its focus on execution,” a company spokesperson told The VAR Guy back in July. “Avnet has a long-established protocol for CEO succession planning. The Board felt that Amelio was highly-qualified and the right appointment for the interim role.”

Making Amelio’s appointment permanent has seemed to encourage investors. Avnet’s stock climbed 0.5 percent to $41.55 per share since it made the announcement Tuesday morning.

What’s next for Avnet?

“For me, Avnet is all about passion and possibilities. We have an experienced management team and an engaged workforce comprised of talented employees who are dedicated to serving our customers, suppliers and partners,” Amelio said in a statement. “By better aligning these resources with our competitive solutions specialist, embedded and supply chain strengths, Avnet will undoubtedly be positioned to achieve profitable growth for our shareholders and deliver upon the ever growing market potential in our industry.”

In July, a spokesperson for Avnet told The VAR Guy that Amelio will focus on supporting channel partners grow in key areas, including analytics, big data, cloud, mobility, security and networking and the Internet of Things (IoT).

In addition to realigning Avnet’s offerings, Amelio seems determined to improve the company’s internal processes. During last month’s earnings call, he told investors that he plans to roll out new business management systems that emphasize accountability, address organizational barriers and allow teams to work more effectively through collective operating groups.

Better luck this time?

For the last five years, Amelio has served as the president, chief executive officer and a director of CHC Group Ltd., an international oil-field services company. But from 2005 to 2009, he served as president and chief executive officer of Lenovo. It was a bad time to be leading the world’s third-biggest PC vendor as an industry-wide slowdown caused drastically reduced revenues throughout the PC sector. Following a 20 percent year-over-year drop in revenue for the last three months of 2008, Amelio resigned as the Lenovo board declined to renew his three-year contract.

Amelio was previously a regional senior vice president and president, Asia-Pacific and Japan for Dell Inc. He began his career with the Microelectronics Technology Division of IBM in 1979 and later became the General Manager Worldwide Operations of the Personal Computer Division.




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About the Author(s)

Kris Blackmon

Head of Channel Communities, Zift Solutions

Kris Blackmon is head of channel communities at Zift Solutions. She previously worked as chief channel officer at JS Group, and as senior content director at Informa Tech and project director of the MSP 501er Community. Blackmon is chair of CompTIA's Channel Development Advisory Council and operates KB Consulting. You may follow her on LinkedIn and @zift on X.

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