Canadian success can’t happen without local leadership

Bruno Pupo’s exit as area director for NEC Display Solutions in Canada is unfortunate for Pupo individually and for NEC in the Canadian market.

Pupo’s job with the Canadian subsidiary was eliminated by the Itasca, Ill.-based American parent company as NEC goes through a re-organization. Pupo, who dedicated more than 18-years of his career to NEC, was an area director who lost his job.

Likewise long-time channel executive Alex Nobile is looking for gainful employment after 20 years spent in the IT business. Nobile had left his job at Synnex Canada to become NComputing’s country manager. NComputing was named a vendor to watch by CDN in 2007. But after eight months of excellent growth, NComputing management decided to eliminate the country manager position and handle Canadian business out of the U.S.

The departure of Pupo and Nobile is all too typical of what happens to Canadian executives employed by companies headquartered in offshore markets. In my career covering the IT industry in Canada, such moves to pare down Canadian executives happens all too frequently. Truth is that most times that a vendor decides to remove its local executive talent, that company performs more poorly than ever. Yet history continues to repeat itself.

Lenovo Canada for example has gone a full year without a president after Murray Wright left to head up U.S. sales for Tech Data.

Dave MacDonald, president of SoftChoice, once told me that U.S. parent leadership thinks it can save money or operate more efficiently by operating a Canadian subsidiary from the U.S. invariably re-establishes its local presence. Clearly local business suffers when there isn’t a Canadian organizational head in charge.

Case in point is Symantec who removed local leadership during the mid-1990s returned it a couple of years later. Symantec hired GM Chris Monnette and the subsidiary has since flourished. Today Symantec Canada is one of the company’s top regional operations.

Consider the most successful local Canadian subsidiary operations. Microsoft Canada has won three awards as Microsoft Corp.’s top worldwide subsidiary of the year. HP Canada outperforms most of the other regional operations for that company, while Cisco Canada is a success story of legendary proportions for that network communications equipment maker.

Each of these vendors built tremendous Canadian organizations with local leadership.

Recently Computer Associates Canada hired Jimmy Fulton as its new country manager. Bernadette Nixon retains her post as Canadian GM as well as being responsible for all Eastern Canadian business. According to one source close to the situation, CA wants to achieve even greater Canadian market success and recognizes the need to put two key people in place.

It all demonstrates the importance of local leadership in order to really drive business success in Canada. This is what executives such as Pupo, Nobile, Wright, and Nixon typically provide. They have key relationships with customers, channel partners, media and industry associations.

They’re among the key people who make local success happen.

A lot of quick hits today. I seriously cannot believe Intel allowed, encourage or pushed Shirley Turner to take mandatory retirement. I don’t know the other two channel executives Nick Davison and Mike Steward, but Turner has cache in this industry. She is a big name in channel circles. Whenever solution providers talk about who are the best minds in the channel her name comes up. Glad to see that Steve Dallman and David Allen are still with Intel’s channel organization.
Chris Devlin has resurfaced. The long time CA channel executive is now working for Falconstor Software.
Marc Blouin has been named vice-president of finance and chief accounting officer (CAO) at Bell Microproducts.
Intrinsyc Software International, Inc. of Vancouver announced the appointment of George Reznik to the position of Chief Financial Officer.

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