Lawless takes Avnet helm as McKenna retires

Lawless takes Avnet helm as McKenna retires

Avnet sales director, Gavin Lawless, will take the reins from local managing director, Colin McKenna, following his decision to retire on December 31.

As the value-added distributor's new country business manager, Lawless is responsible for all facets of business management including sales, marketing and technical support. His main priorities are to increase the spending of existing resellers while finding new dealers to work with and vendors to represent.

Avnet is currently going through a period of controlled expansion that has recently seen it add Alcatel, CommVault and NetApp to its vendor stable.

Its core business is built around high-end HP and IBM servers but the aim is to grow its potential market by getting more involved in the sale of 'industry standard' Wintel boxes. Lawless admitted this had changed the competitive landscape and taken Avnet into markets served by broad-based players. But he was keen to highlight differences in approach.

"We like to think we are not competing hugely with Ingram Micro or Cellnet because we don't lead with pricing," he said. "Our lead is at the high end."

With a current stable of less than 10 vendors, Lawless said he would eventually like to work with brands that are represented by its US parent company including EMC and Sun Microsystems. He will also look to grow its storage practice while moving into new areas like networking and security.

"We sell security as part of the Alcatel and Enterasys suites but it is an area we would like to get more involved in," he said.

McKenna said Avnet's recently signed vendor relationships would take time to build but claimed it was currently tracking at an annual growth rate of about 25 per cent. He would not provide annual revenue projections.

After eight years at the helm - and three decades in the industry that have seen him working for heavyweights like Digital, Unisys and IBM - McKenna plans to spend his retirement strolling the fairways and reading philosophy.

"After concentrating heavily on business for so long I want to expand my knowledge into other areas," he said. "There's plenty to keep me going."

For more on Avnet's growth plans, check out next week's edition of ARN.

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