It started off as a pretty bumpy ride for new Tech Data CEO Rich Hume. The long-time IBM executive took over in June 2018 after two years as chief operating officer at the tech-product distributor. As COO, Hume had masterminded the $2.6 billion acquisition of Avnet’s technology services unit. That was intended to bolster Tech Data’s higher-margin cloud offerings. But for much of the year, Tech Data’s growth came in the low margin PC area, disappointing Wall Street. Even as net revenue grew 11% to $37 billion, the company’s gross profit margin declined to 6.06% from 6.30% the prior year. Tech Data’s stock price dropped 16% in 2018. (Though it’s since bounced back sharply in 2019.) Now Hume’s task is to get his huge sales force more focused on selling cloud software and infrastructure services over cheap computers and phones.
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