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Ingram Micro yesterday blamed former management for the UK misfortunes of the company. Greg Spierkel, president of Ingram Micro Europe, told journalists in London that the company could not pretend its woes were solely due to poor market conditions. Spierkel said ex-Ingram Micro UK MD Sandy Scott "didn't know the industry and didn't know the company". He described the current year as "a write off", and admitted to "two or three screw ups in Europe". But Spierkel claimed that next year the company would be stronger, saying UK sales for 1999 would be up on the previous year, despite a dip in the first half of this year. "We are miles ahead of where we were six months ago," he said. He would not comment on whether the UK operation was yet making a profit, but commented: "All things are turning in the right direction." In North America, Spierkel said that a lot of changes had been managed badly –- such as the staff cuts announced earlier this year. Worldwide, the company said it would be stepping up its services and Internet strategies. Ingram said there were a number of outsourcing agreements to be announced, including deals in the notebook and components sectors. But it refused to comment on what percentage of its sales came from services. And it rejected claims that ecommerce was making distributors redundant, saying it was providing logistics for companies such as Dell's online business and Buy.com. Spierkel also confirmed that the company had not yet found replacements for CEO Jerre Stead or COO Jeffrey Rodek –- who this quarter announced they were quitting the company. But the company remained upbeat about the future. It emphasised the fact that it had re-hired staff who left during Scott's reign in the UK –- including sales director Lloyd Pinder. And it pointed out that, despite three profits warnings in the last four quarters, it was still faring better than many of its rivals. ®

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