Basheer out as Almasa restructures in Saudi

Almasa to replace country managers for Saudi and Kuwait to go with category manager approach

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By  Andrew Seymour Published  November 23, 2008

Almasa is doing away with country managers in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait as part of an internal restructuring that will now see ‘category managers’ reporting to business unit heads in Dubai.

The IT distributor believes the change will shorten the reporting lines between its branch offices and UAE headquarters, although the decision has led to Almasa Saudi boss Radwan Basheer quitting the company less than a year into his role.

Basheer, formerly of Aptec and Al-Jammaz, was offered a dual position combining his existing duties with a category management role, but he declined to take it according to Almasa.

Almasa currently splits its business into four divisions — imaging and printing; components; networking; and computer systems — with a general manager at its Dubai office responsible for each unit.

Lancy Menezes leads the printing business, John David looks after components, Pradeep Angeveetil heads networking sales and Prithvi JaganMohan runs the computer systems unit.

Under the new set-up, Almasa branch offices outside of the UAE will employ category managers for each division who will report directly to those business unit heads.

As HP accounts for around 60% of its Saudi business, JaganMohan has been put in charge of overall KSA affairs, splitting his time between Dubai and Riyadh.

Frank Sheu, CEO at Almasa, explained that a strategy heavily linked to product management functions and business units meant it was becoming difficult to justify the existence of a traditional country manager position at its operations outside the UAE.

He also said the move was influenced by the level of dialogue that takes place between vendor partners and its senior management team in Dubai. “We feel that the best way to manage the branch is through one of the business unit heads at our headquarters. This will help us deliver our vendor targets in a more controlled manner because the issue was that the experience and knowledge in our HQ for a particular vendor takes time to translate to branch level.”

Almasa only intends to apply the new arrangement in markets containing a fully-fledged office and not in countries where it is reliant on a sales representative, such as Egypt. Its Kuwaiti operation is the next in line to be restructured, with existing country boss Manoj Panchal understood to have been offered a category management role.

Sheu believes the new set-up will also pay dividends in the time it takes to make decisions. “In this business, the key is how you can minimise or shorten the gap in terms of your decision-making. That is the secret to being competitive. This is an extremely dynamic business so we are no longer in a position to have somebody acting only in a managerial role. Everybody is more or less involved in dealing with the customer or vendor.”

3523 days ago

I agree with the former comments... The move done by al masa is quite unwise... and I think it started when they fire out some 17 salesmen who are directly contacting with customers. It's not a good decision at all...

3525 days ago

All vendors going towards in country (local offices) so i totally agree with mohamed "no country head no focus" the value of a disti for any vendor is the local strength,

3527 days ago

Distis really need to think again re country heads. Redington lost their country head in KSA following a similar restructuring and their nos dropped. Its the same story for others. Guys, please look at Saudi and realize its not Dubai. You need focus, vision, and someone at the top to manage. Almasa have made the wrong choice

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