Exclusive Networks CEO Jesper Trolle opens up about the stress of an IPO, and the distributor’s focus on cybersecurity.

Christine Horton, Contributing Editor

April 22, 2022

4 Min Read

Exclusive Networks’ CEO has lifted the lid on the distributor’s growth plans, post-IPO.

The group listed on Euronext Paris in September 2021. Seven months on, CEO Jesper Trolle says he is “proud” of the company’s transition to a public company. The firm recently posted its 2021 financial results, which included breaking the €3 billion sales barrier.

Exclusive Networks said its €3.3 billion in gross sales was 73% attributable to existing vendors, 13% to vendor expansion and 15% to acquisitions.

In 2021, the company signed more than 1,250 new resellers (an increase of 7%) and expanded into 21 new countries. The distributor also added 22 new vendors to its portfolio and acquired Ignition Technology and Networks Unlimited.


Exclusive Networks’ Jesper Trolle

“Making the transition from a private company to a public company is quite the effort,” explained Trolle. “It puts a lot of stress on the organisation, particularly the finance functions. There are a lot of additional disclosures we need to make their new, more aggressive deadlines. And there’s just more visibility into the business. That transition is something that, frankly, could derail any company.

“So a lot of things have had to change. We brought on a lot of new people with a lot of additional experience in the public markets. We strengthened a lot of our functions. But the fact that we still managed to deliver in both sales and our income is a great testament to the solid business that we are in.”

Laser-Focused on Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is central to the distributor’s future growth plans.

“Our differentiator is this super laser-focus on cyber,” said Trolle. “We’re not trying to satisfy every piece of the IT ecosystem. We recognise that there are other players in other fields, and we are very strong in cybersecurity. There is a strong underlying market growth.”

Trolle also pointed out the fragmentation in the cybersecurity marketplace is helping to drive the distributor’s business.

“If you think about servers, you have five vendors today. You think about storage, you have five to 10. You think about networking, you have maybe five. Cybersecurity, there are 3000. There’s just no other place in the IT ecosystem where the vendor landscape is so fragmented, and as diverse, as it is in cybersecurity.

“We thrive on fragmentation. Because we are that central piece that holds everything together and make it easier for our customers to get access to those solutions. At the same time, we help our vendors get access to this diverse and ever-growing ecosystem of routes to market, whether that’s traditional resellers, system integrators, managed service providers, or cloud marketplaces.”

Helping Ukraine

Trolle also detailed the company’s efforts to help those affected by the war in Ukraine. He said the company never has done any business in Russia, directly or indirectly. However, alongside one of its vendors, the distributor has helped relocate an external contractor and his family from Ukraine to Poland.

“Our Polish operation is the closest to the border,” he said. “I went there just after the invasion started and the closer you get, of course, the more real it is. I’m blown away with the people there, the initiatives they’ve put in place around buying bulletproof vests and gas masks. And you drive them to the borders and hand them off.”

Exclusive Networks is also working with a couple of partners on creating communication solutions for refugee camps.

“There’s just a lot of goodness coming out of the organization to try and help. With what’s going on, you see the worst of humankind and actually the best of humankind. On one hand, you have all the devastating things that Russia is implementing. At the same time, you have a large part of the rest of the world that is really uniting, coming together.

“We also have people driving from the UK to the border of Ukraine and dropping off supplies. So we have a lot of things that I’m really proud of, for the organisation and for our employees.

On the subject of the UK, UK&I regional director Graham Jones announced his retirement last week after nine years at the distributor, and 45 years in the channel. Trolle said the firm is recruiting for his successor, evaluating both internal and external candidates.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Christine Horton or connect with her on LinkedIn.


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About the Author(s)

Christine Horton

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Christine Horton writes about all kinds of technology from a business perspective. Specializing in the IT sales channel, she is a former editor and now regular contributor to leading channel and business publications. She has a particular focus on EMEA for Channel Futures.

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