Get to know: Ashraf Kamal

Egypt-based distribution house Metra Computer is building up a solid presence across the Middle East.

  • E-Mail
By  Andrew Seymour Published  July 23, 2008

Egypt-based distribution house Metra Computer is building up a solid presence across the Middle East and nowhere is that more evident than in Saudi Arabia. Channel Middle East thought it should therefore take time to ‘get to know’ product chief Ashraf Kamal.

What is your career history to date?

Today I am the product manager for Acer and work on the commercial products side. I have been doing this for a year since joining Metra. Before that I was the sales manager for the Saudi eastern region at PC Net and worked there for 15 years.

Which industry figure do you admire and why?

Our general manager Tamer Elshourbagy. He is open-minded, flexible and respects the experience of others, which creates a good environment for you to easily achieve your goals. It helps when you can talk directly to your manager and have the same business language.

What are your top channel tips for the next 12 months?

Partners should really work on turning their name into a brand. The market has concentrated around many power retailers and hyper-retailers that not only offer good prices, but services and after-sales support.

Their image is very important so my advice to the channel is that if they want to ensure a strong position in the market they need to brand their name. Even if they are not a big company, image is still important.

What do you enjoy most about working in the Middle East IT market?

The most enjoyable thing for me is that you need to work fast in this market and remain aware of the competition, which makes it exciting all the time. In my role as product manager I am also handling all of the Saudi Arabia market - eastern, western and central areas - so this really gives me more visibility of the business.

How do you relax outside of the work environment?

That's the problem - I don't have time to relax! At weekends I try to do things with the family, perhaps take the kids to the mall. Before joining Metra I lived in Khobar for the last 15 years and from time to time we used to travel to Bahrain for a change.

What do you dislike most about working in the Middle East IT market?

I don't like the grey market because it only takes a few quantities to spoil the market. Some distributors selling the main brands are breaking the dealer and end-user prices recommended by the vendors.

There are some distributors that aren't following the vendor's policy, which causes problems with the other distributors that try to fulfil their commitment with the vendor.

What is the proudest moment of your career to date?

We are now one of the important partners for Acer after enjoying success not only in Saudi but in Egypt. I have also personally received appreciation from Acer in the last couple of months for the overall visibility and market reach and I am proud of that.

How would you describe your style of management?

I have also recently been promoted to retail manager, which is a new challenge for me. When you deal with commercial and retail you have visibility of the whole market. There is still some competition between both segments so I have to be open, honest and consider the circumstances of both.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code