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Insight Enterprises EMEA president Fenton quits

Longest handover in channel history as successor sought

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Insight Enterprises EMEA president Stuart Fenton has resigned after more than a decade at the helm but is remaining on board until the end of the year to help recruit his successor.

Fenton joined the reseller giant as UK boss in October 2002 - three years after it acquired Choice Peripherals to set up a Euro beachhead and some months after it had bought Action Computer Supplies.

The integration process was messy, the business was poorly run and Insight's share price had crashed, Fenton told The Channel:

"I was drafted in to turn it around and we went from being a loss making business to a profitable one in three months. I loved the cut and thrust of that transformation work".

"I originally intended to join Insight for five years and toward the end of that I was looking for the next thing," he said, "but the company changed its CEO, made acquisitions and I got the EMEA and Asia Pacific roles".

Insight EMEA developed from a $382m sales engine to over $1.4bn under el president's control, growing organically and by acquisition. It hoovered up licensing giant Software Spectrum along the way; networking firm Minx; and most recently Inmac when he dropped the Asia Pacific position (early 2012).

Fenton said he made the decision to move a year ago but said Insight was going through an ERP programme, dealing with massive changes in vendor rebates and was planning to swap out the MDs in the French and German operations.

"That is done so it's time for me to move on. I want a new challenge but first I've got to recruit my replacement, I can't do that in the dark so we decided to announce my departure," he said.

He has a role on the table within the IT industry - not as a competitor - but said he will remain as EMEA president until the end of the year, potentially up until 31 March 2014 if necessary.

"I've got an opportunity that I have to be very flexible with because I can't give an exact date. I love Insight, the people and the last thing I want to do is leave before the right person is in place".

So Fenton looks likely to see out the calendar year in what could be a challenging one - the group recently rolled out Q1 preliminary numbers that showed declining sales and profits.

But the challenges facing Insight are not specific to the company, with many large channels firms needing to navigate choppy economic waters in 2013 and vendor programme changes.

Rival boss at Computacenter Mike Norris told us that Fenton was one of the more interesting people in the channel to be stuck in a lift with.

"Stuart is one of the most talented people that I've met who hasn't worked at Computacenter," he said.

And Phil Doye, CEO at Kelway, described Fenton as a "significant and positive influence on the UK channel for many years.

"We have enjoyed our battles and wish him well post Insight," he added. ®

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