Get to know: Ajay Tozhappa, Business Unit Manager, Empa

Having worked for Ingram Micro, Tech Data and Redington, Ajay Tozhappa can already consider himself something of a volume distribution expert. Now running Empa’s Intel and storage business, he took a quick break from the hectic world of components sales to talk Apple innovation, credit risks and motorbikes...

Tags: EMPA Middle EastIntel CorporationRedington GulfTech Data Corporation
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Get to know: Ajay Tozhappa, Business Unit Manager, Empa
By  Andrew Seymour Published  October 31, 2010

What’s your career history in the industry to date?

I started my career with a brief stint in the FMCG industry in India. I got a break into IT through Redington and have been a steadfast IT loyalist ever since. In 2005, when I was working with Ingram Micro, I was fortunate enough to get an opportunity to handle Tech Data’s hard drive business and decided to move to Dubai.

What is your favourite thing about your employer?

My favourite thing is the empowerment [given to staff] and openness to new ideas and suggestions.

What is your proudest career achievement to date?

There have been a few, but what gave me a lot of satisfaction was winning the award for the ‘best committed’ country among 16 of Tech Data’s European subsidiaries.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

It is the following: work with passion, work to win and run after excellence.

What product should the channel look out for this year?

Convergence is more on the horizon than ever before and one needs to watch this spectrum closely. Products like the iPad that are unique with a first-mover advantage are the ones to look out for in my opinion.

If you could improve one thing about the channel business, what would it be?

To differentiate and focus more on product benefits as a means of enhancing profitability. Though markets are segmented on price, we need to make consumers talk less about price and more about the unique benefits and features.

What is the biggest challenge facing the Middle East channel?

In the current scenario, the major challenges are eroding margins coupled with increased credit risk and sustainability of operations. Dependence on a very small number of captive markets is another issue.

Which technology company do you most admire and why?

I really admire Apple for their innovative, path-breaking products and strong brand equity. Apple has a penchant for churning out products that command a premium.

What is the biggest mistake you have ever made?

Mistakes are a constant in work life and something new always crops up. I would like to sum up by saying patience is a virtue and chance favours the prepared mind.

What sort of interests do you have outside of work?

I love listening to music, playing tennis and travelling. Above all, my passion is motorbiking and I usually manage to do some riding on the weekends.

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