Well-known Leading Edge Computers general manager, Ross Whitelaw, passed away this morning.
According to a statement from the reseller buying group's CEO, Keith Lane, Whitelaw died after suffering from a serious illness for three weeks. He was 63.
"Ross loved the job, the company, the members, the suppliers and was very proud of his tremendous achievements," Lane said. "Ross and I joined Leading Edge within a month of each other 10 years ago, and he and I struck up a very strong bond almost immediately. Through Ross's efforts the group prospered, he continually fought for the benefits of all members and nothing made him happier than to know that a member had prospered from his efforts. Over the years he has made a major contribution to computer retailing in Australia."
A 30-year retail veteran, Whitelaw joined the Leading Edge business in 1998 after a 10-year stint with Dick Smith Electronics. During his time with the national retailer, he was instrumental in launching its first superstore.
Lane said Whitelaw was a devotee to the Leading Edge brand and business. After winning the Retailer of the Year award at the inaugural ARN IT Industry Awards in September, Whitelaw said he loved "every minute of his job" because of the buying group team's enthusiasm, his enjoyment working with retailers and his passion for selling.
"Ross loved the company - he told me that his time with Leading Edge was the highlight of his working career," Lane said. "Ross's greatest strength was his immutable optimism. He was always cheerful, enjoyed life, and loved us all.
"He will be sadly missed by the Leading Edge team, its members and colleagues and friends throughout the industry...I know our members and suppliers will share the pain and sorrow we are all feeling."
Whitelaw is survived by his wife, Pat, and his two daughters, Angela and Jacqueline.