It was in April of last year that Phil Gallagher joined TTI Inc. as corporate officer, senior vice president and member of CEO Paul Andrews’ executive staff, acting in the functional role as president, sales and marketing, TTI Americas. Gallagher had just come off a two-year hiatus after leaving Avnet Inc., his employer for 32 years.
Today, Avnet announced Gallagher will be rejoining the global distributor as president of its Core Distribution Business. He will report to Avnet CEO William Amelio and oversee the company’s core distribution business, supplier relationships, global procurement, and supply chain solutions business.
Although Gallagher’s 2014 departure from Avnet was described as “retirement,” it was a signal that Avnet’s management staff was in turmoil. Rick Hamada, also a 30-plus-year veteran of Avnet, was named CEO in 2011. Avnet’s sales and earnings had slipped during Hamada’s tenure and Hamada was fired by Avnet’s board of directors in 2016.
Gallagher had been president of Avnet Technology Solutions since 2009. Although Gallagher’s roots were in the components business, Technology Solutions had been stumbling and corporate management asked Gallagher to take the helm. Technology Solutions never really regained solid footing: it was sold to Tech Data Corp. in September of 2016.
Avnet’s Core Distribution Business likely is Gallagher’s dream job: by all accounts he was a good fit at TTI Inc. and he had high praise for the TTI family of highly-stable businesses. By comparison, Avnet’s executive ranks have been a revolving door since Hamada’s departure: several longtime veterans of Avnet, including global components executives Ed Smith and Gerry Fay, have left the organization. Smith in February was named interim CEO of SMTC Corp.
Avnet also sold Technology Solutions and acquired European catalog distributor Premier Farnell less than a month later. But Gallagher himself said electronics distribution must adapt to the many changes impacting the industry. One of his first challenges may be with Avnet’s supplier base. Analog Devices recently dropped Avnet and named Arrow Electronics Inc. as its sole global distributor. Longtime supplier Texas Instruments Inc. has ceased rewarding distributors for their design efforts. “We’ll see how it plays out,” Gallagher told EPS. “It’s a big move by TI. That said, we’ve seen this before – TI and other suppliers have emphasized demand creation or order fulfillment at one time or another. For a distributor, I think it’s all about your ability to adapt in a shifting environment, the industry is transitioning all the time.”
“As a distributor, you don’t just sit back when things change—you’ve developed [design] resources and you can double down with your other suppliers and still go after those sockets,” he said. “TI’s distributors will figure out what to do.” Gallagher added that he doesn’t expect there will be a wholesale shift away from demand creation programs; distribution, he said, is still the best model for many suppliers to efficiently maximize their reach into a broad customer base.
It's an exciting time to rejoin Avnet, said Gallagher in a release. “The company in which I spent the majority of my professional life is clearly gearing up for the next chapter. The business strategy and direction that have been laid out by the leadership team is going to change the trajectory of the company and I am eager to be a part of it. I’m excited to help lead Avnet’s talented employees and some old friends in serving our customers and suppliers with the exceptional care that Avnet is so well known for providing.”
“We are thrilled to have Phil return to Avnet at this pivotal time in our company,” said CEO Amelio. “Phil brings decades of electronics industry knowledge to this important role. He will immediately hit the ground running, drawing upon his tenure and knowledge of Avnet’s components business and his longstanding relationships with our valued supplier and customer community. Our executive leadership team will undoubtedly benefit from his experience.”
Reporting to Gallagher in this new role will be Avnet’s three regional presidents spanning the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific along with the supplier management, global procurement and supply chain services teams.
Gallagher began his career with Avnet in 1983 and held executive leadership positions in sales, marketing and operations over his 30-year career with the company. He served as the president of Avnet’s electronics component business in the Americas region from 2004 to 2009. A past president of the National Electronics Distributors’ Association (NEDA), now the Electronic Components Industry Association, Gallagher received one of the organization’s highest honors, the Gail S. Carter Award, in 2009. Gallagher left Avnet in 2014 and was most recently president, Americas sales and marketing for TTI, a leading authorized distributor of interconnect, passive, electromechanical and discrete components. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Drexel University.