Joel Stead, senior vice president of international sales operations at Seagate Technology, has announced that Seagate's Australian office will be managed by Singapore-based BS Teh. Teh assumes the expanded role of director of sales, Asia-Pacific, which adds the western part of the Pacific region to his former South-Asian role.
Teh told ARN that his appointment will see him spending about a third of his time in Australia, most of which will be used visiting OEM customers and distributors.
The way it is
He said the effect of the new structure is that the local office will operate more like a branch of a worldwide company than as a subsidiary.
Teh was in Australia recently to meet with customers and affirm Seagate Technology's commitment to the local market. He wanted to assure OEMs that the company was by no means scaling back its Australian operation. He said there are 14 staff in the Sydney office, including seven in technical support and three in sales. He added that when financial results for the current quarter are available, he expects to be able to show a turnaround in Seagate Technology's performance, both in Australia and worldwide.
An ebullient Teh said: "Based on feedback from our channel partners and resellers, and known sales of new products like Big Bear (7200 IDE Medalist Pro), I feel very confident." He added that there would be a renewed focus on customer support and that a new branding campaign will commence later in the year.
Alan Latimer, general manager of long-time Seagate Technology OEM customer TPG, said: "Seagate has addressed the gap in the higher specification, competitively priced product range, and for us, it's business as usual."
According to Hugh Evans, managing director of Agate, Seagate Technology recognised the need to operate more leanly in the Asia-Pacific region. As a result, he expects to be more aggressive in the market, especially in the light of industry-wide rationalisation of hard disk drive production.
Market pick up
The hard drive market is clearly set to become more aggressive. Former Seagate Australia MD, now country manager for Quantum, Paul Kruss is on a mission to make life tough for his previous employer. He said: "Quantum sees the advantage of having local management, and will focus on developing relationships with local assemblers."
So, while industry sources are predicting a substantial downturn in the worldwide supply of hard drives (as manufacturers crank up the production of new models), assemblers and system integrators can expect a major battle for their hearts and minds.
Seagate has fired the first salvo in the current local skirmish.