Published: March 24th, 2017
On March 27th of 2017 Rick Reid will be starting his 19th year as the President of Tech Data Canada of Mississauga, Ont. His leadership tenure is unmatched in the Canadian IT channel community and only rivals last year’s Top Newsmaker of the year Harry Zarek, founder and CEO of Top 100 Solution Provider Compugen. The only difference is Reid’s term is uninterrupted. Zarek stepped aside from Compugen for close to two years after it was acquired by Norigen Communications Inc. around the turn of the century; only for Zarek to buy back his company when Norigen went bankrupt.

Circumstances could not have been any better for Reid and Tech Data in 2016. The first event happened in mid-February when his long-time rival Ingram Micro sold to Chinese conglomerate HNA Group for $6 billion. Then seven months later a blockbuster deal occurs where Tech Data acquires the Technology Solutions group of Avnet. At a purchase price of $2.6 billion this acquisition is the biggest IT distribution deal in history.

CDN is not suggesting that Reid played dealmaker between his company and Avnet, but it’s important to note the significance of this transaction to Tech Data’s Canadian operation and the entire channel community as a whole.

Avnet is an extremely important acquisition for Tech Data as the distributor was already augmenting its business model with value added solutions. The company’s Advanced Technology Solutions centre was a great example of that. But Tech Data continued to keep its broadline core as a major part of its operation.

With Avnet in the fold, Tech Data will be sporting value-based data centre infrastructure, software, and services to that mix, which will include Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and IBM software. Also Avnet helps Tech Data expand to Asia Pacific.

But Reid was quick to position this deal with the channel in Canada informing the community that the balance of power has shifted to North America from Europe as a result of this deal.

Reid is also playing a huge role in the integration of the two Canadian operations, which are located next door to each other.

It also helps to curve the over-distribution aspect of the Canadian market, which is something Reid has pushed hard for. With Avnet it helps Reid build a better profit base in the data centre market for Tech Data and its Canadian channel partners.

Also Reid acknowledged how great a team Avnet Canada has, led by Brian Aebig.

Avnet deal aside, Tech Data also made inroads in 2016 on the IoT front setting up an Internet of Things practice, which will add to the distributors goal of becoming a value-added player in the channel.

Reid is the only channel executive to have made every single CDN Top 25 Newsmakers list. This will be Reid’s third time at position No. 2. He began his career with Unisys Canada, Inc., and over an 18-year period held a number of positions leading to Vice President and General Manager of the company’s Ontario region. He then jumped from Unisys to Crowntek Business Centres, Inc., and became a reseller executive. After Crowntek was acquired by GE Capital Technology Reid joined SHL subsidiary Computer Innovations, Inc. and after close to five years there where he became the vice president and GM of the central Canadian region he left for Tech Data Canada and he’s been there ever since.

After the CDN Top 25 Newsmakers went to press Reid announced his retirement from Tech Data Canada.