Western Digital nears EMEA chief decision

Western Digital is confident it will find the right person to run its Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) business by the start of next year

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By  Published  December 3, 2006

Western Digital is confident it will find the right person to run its Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) business by the start of next year, according to the man who is keeping the seat warm on an interim basis.

Scott Davis, vice president of worldwide sales at Western Digital, who has spent four out of the last five months in EMEA following the surprise departure of long-standing regional head Klass de Vos, claimed his search for a successor is nearing a conclusion.

“I’ve talked to a lot of people and I’m very optimistic that we will find a replacement very soon,” said Davis.

“We certainly hope to have a person in place and up and running by the first quarter.”

Western Digital generates more than US$1 billion a year in sales from the EMEA region and Davis is unequivocal about the kind of management skills required to manage and grow a business that size.

“We’re looking for a sales executive, not a general manager-type personality,” he said.

“It has got be somebody who is a sales executive by nature, can drive and close business, establish worldwide customer relationships, and provide leadership to the team.”

While the vendor is not revealing any clues about the candidates that have made its shortlist, Davis admits that the new EMEA boss is almost certain to come from outside the company.

Regardless of who lands the post, the appointment of a new boss is set to have implications for the hard drive giant’s Middle East and Africa business.

Davis claimed that the time he had spent taking on de Vos’ duties had taught him that more independence needs to be transferred to members of the vendor’s senior management team such as Hafeez Khawaja, Western Digital’s senior regional director for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region.

“We want to move the strategy further down in the organisation,” he said.

“Take Hafeez Khawaja who runs the Middle East for example. We really want Hafeez to own our Middle East strategy in the sense that he is in the market, he touches the market and he has a better feel for what our strategy should be moving forward versus a person who might be residing in Central Europe,” he added.

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