Pritchard lands global role at Comstor


Pritchard lands global role at Comstor

Alex Scroxton

Comstor's vice president and general manager of Europe, Jon Pritchard, is to take the helm at a new global unit, Comstor Worldwide, being created by the Cisco-specialist distributor.

Vice president of global strategic relations William Corbin at Comstor parent Westcon will co-manage the new venture.

The expansion of Comstor - which has its roots in the Gloucestershire countryside, starting business as RBR Networks before being bought for £60m by South Africa-based Datatec in 1998 - comes five months to the day after parent Westcon announced the formation of a new global distribution alliance with Cisco.

That agreement, a departure for Cisco, which has traditionally come down hard on cross-border trading, allowed Westcon to source and supply Cisco SKUs from any of its warehouses, allowing for lower inventory levels and higher fill-rates for fast moving kit.

Today's announcement will see the creation of a new Comstor Worldwide unit that will take control of all Westcon's global Cisco business by 2011, with immediate effect in Brazil and Canada. Westcon says the move will eliminate confusion over its branding.

Cisco solutions account for at least half of the group's worldwide sales.

Westcon president and CEO Dean Douglas talked of a "milestone" in the company's history, adding: "[This] will enable us to better manage growth and investments in our Cisco-oriented business. Having our offerings aligned in a single unit will amount to an unprecedented opportunity for resellers."

One Cisco partner reflected that support levels on Cisco gear through distribution were definitely improving on the back of various enhancements around the vendor's channel this year, and said there was clear evidence of "Cisco and Comstor working together more effectively."

Brighter Connections managing director and Cisco SMB Select partner Darren Stringer said that deterioration in service levels from Comstor in 2008 had led to many dealers taking more business to competitors Azlan or Ingram Micro, but said that this year the distributor had made a return to its previous form.

"The day-to-day service has improved, the pricing is more competitive on things like SmartNET, and response times are quicker," he said. "I don't think all that is a coincidence."

Comstor has not yet revealed whether it will seek to recruit Pritchard's replacement internally or externally.

Cisco had not responded to requests for comment at the time of writing.

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