Eiselt lays down the law

Tech Data Middle East boss Hanspeter Eiselt marks his first 100 days in the job by outlining why a new decentralised management structure is key to success in 2007

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By  Administrator Published  January 1, 2007

Tech Data Middle East claims 2007 will be the year when it achieves a stronger level of visibility in the regional market after recently shoring up its internal structure.

The distributor experienced a change of management in the second half of last year, prior to which saw the company’s staff retention rate heavily scrutinised.

Speaking exclusively to Channel Middle East after his first 100 days in charge, regional managing director Hanspeter Eiselt insisted that the company had replaced the employees who departed last year and restructured its management team to better address the market. Former Bahrain country manager Ali Fayez has been given the mantle of regional general manager for the North Gulf territory — which spans Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia — while Loay Qaddoura has the same task for the South Gulf. His region covers Oman, the UAE and Yemen.

“Prior to my arrival we probably ended up a little bit too inside sales-centric and we’ve started a recruitment drive and a reshaping of our field organisations,” said Eiselt. “We have geared the organisation in a similar way to the Cisco sales coverage model and we’ve been in very close contact with Cisco and HP to help us shape this structure. I can now delegate some of the empowerment and sales management focus that would have all been centralised in Dubai.”

While it has not been entirely incoming traffic through Tech Data’s door — operations director Mike Vosper is leaving for pastures new at the end of this month to take up a post at supply chain management firm Workz — Eiselt has succeeded in strengthening the local team. Kerstin Schulz has been lured from her role as events manager at Americas Cup racing syndicate BMW Oracle to bolster Tech Data’s marketing team, while recently-hired director of product marketing, Christian Weinelt, is running the distributor’s HP business unit, which represents a third of its estimated US$300m a year sales in the Middle East.

Weinelt is a 14-year Tech Data veteran who has tasted life in both the broadline and enterprise side of the business in Europe. He also spent a period running the firm’s IBM division in Germany. “He brings an awful lot of experience of getting into the corporate reseller and value added reselling business,” commented Eiselt.

Weinelt’s short time at Tech Data Middle East has already seen him pioneer a ‘win back’ campaign designed to help the company re-engage with neglected reseller accounts and provide some clarity and accountability to its various business units.

The restructuring of the internal management team all ties in with Tech Data’s strategy to identify a suitable go-to-market model in Saudi Arabia, according to Eiselt.

“I’ve been impressed by the Saudi Arabian market and see the significance of becoming more present there,” he remarked. “We are evaluating a couple of different options from joint ventures with some of the established distribution companies there to acquisitions. We feel that we need to make a move. This is not something that can wait for another year. We obviously have to do it in sync with our corporate goals and investment regulations, but the Saudi market is not one you can just handle through a remote management approach. We need to adjust and this is why the regionalisation of our sales force will drive more decentralisation.”

Eiselt claims Tech Data’s appetite for Saudi — where it already generates 20% to 25% of its sales — has been furthered whetted by talk of various free zones being created in the country.

“Saying that we are going to open an office in Riyadh is not a long-term proposition. I need to have a three- to five-year phased plan and this is why we are looking at a partnership rather than doing it ourselves from scratch,” he said.

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