Rob Tomlin Reveals New Distribution Role After Leaving Dell

“The opportunity was too good to refuse," said Tomlin, opening up about his jump from Dell to Exclusive Networks.

Christine Horton, Contributing Editor

April 10, 2024

3 Min Read
Rob Tomlin joins Exclusive Networks after Dell
one photo/Shutterstock

“I wanted to get back to running a company. That was what that was super important to me. And the opportunity to do that was too good to refuse.”

Former Dell U.K. channel leader Rob Tomlin revealed to Channel Futures his reasons for leaving the vendor and taking up the post of UKI managing director for distributor Exclusive Networks.

“I decided about a year ago I was going to do something different,” explained Tomlin. “I loved my job at Dell; it was a fantastic company. Dell taught me a lot of things I didn’t know. I am better positioned to do this job now because of the five-and-a-half years I had at Dell.”

Exclusive Networks' Rob Tomlin

Prior to Dell, Tomlin was MD at Tech Data (now TD Synnex) in the U.K. However when considering his next move, Tomlin wasn’t expecting a return to distribution. A call with Paul Eccleston – who had taken on both the UKI and EMEA leadership roles at the time – convinced him otherwise.

“I admired Exclusive from afar and when I met with the team, Exclusive ticked all the boxes,” said Tomlin.

Tomlin Praises ‘Culture and Agility’ at Exclusive Networks

Tomlin singles out Exclusive’s culture and agility as differentiators in the distribution space.

The company has grown from multiple acquisitions and it has kept its small company feel. But it’s a big company; it’s the number one in in cybersecurity, data security in the marketplace,” he said.

Related:Channel People on the Move: Dell, Five9, ConnectWise, Intelisys, More

“[Exclusive has] agility, which is unique in the world of IT distribution," Tomlin added. "You’ve got small local heroes, or major U.S.-owned, multinational-owned companies that are matrix-managed, where there are no sign-offs at a local level; everything has to be done centrally. This company’s unique. My team that I lead [is] able to make decisions within their own parameters. But more importantly, I have autonomy at the U.K. level to go and achieve the things that Paul and the group want to achieve. Everything comes back to me to make decisions.”

Exclusive Networks' Paul Eccleston

“We needed somebody who could build the business over the next three, four or five years,” said Eccleston. “There’s massive growth potential for a business in the U.K. But we need to find somebody who had a lot of empathy for the culture of our staff, vendors and channel partners. And I know Rob has that. To be honest, I didn’t think he would come and do it, so I’m absolutely delighted that he did.”

Tomlin’s Top 3 Priorities

Tomlin said he has three priorities in the new role.

The first, he said, is “helping our partners identify where to spend their time. Helping them understand that customer base, helping them understand where the opportunities are, and helping them understand how they expand. How they sell more to existing customers and expand their customer base where appropriate.”

Related:Dell, UK Channel Leader Tomlin to Part Ways

The second priority is people.

“We have a shortage of skills for ourselves,” he said. “So our people go get hired by vendors or by customers, and it’s just a story of life. So we have a consistent requirement to feed the industry with talent. You’re going to see a priority there that we focus on doing that.”

The third priority for Tomlin is “to keep the amazing culture of Exclusive. My ambition is going to be unlimited [in] how big I think this company can be. The [cyber] market is going to grow more than 15% per year. We’re going to take share in our existing vendor partners where we’re competitive, and we’ll probably sign some vendors along the way as well. Really, the challenge we have is just having the talent to help us achieve that. The big thing for us is keeping that culture along the way and keeping that agility and autonomy to enable our partners to achieve.”

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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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