Arrow Electronics hired the managing director of its publishing arm, which owns trade publications such as Datasheets.com and EE Times, as chief marketing officer, the company told Source Today on Tuesday. As part of the new role, Victor Gao will report to Arrow’s chief executive Michael Long.
The Centennial, Colorado-based company is handing over the keys to a vast marketing machine. Gao’s new responsibilities include the global brand, events, social media and corporate communications for the world’s largest electronics distributor, which reported revenues of $26.81 billion last year, up from $23.83 billion in fiscal year 2016.
He previously had a narrower focus, running Arrow’s publishing business unit, called Aspencore, including more than two dozen former Hearst and United Business Media publications. He also managed SiliconExpert, the company’s line of electronic component management tools, and Arrow’s partnership with crowdfunding platform Indiegogo. The company said that it would refill the publisher role.
The company hired Gao as vice president of software-as-a-service and media in 2015. Before taking roles in online publishing at Microsoft, Yahoo and other technology firms, he worked as an investment banker for Lehman Brothers and a public policy analyst on digital journalism with consulting firm McKinsey & Company.
Arrow moved into publishing with the acquisition of the United Technical Publishing branch of Hearst in 2015. A year later, the company scooped up UBM’s technology portfolio – including EE Times, EDN, and Datasheets.com – for $23.5 million. The strategy has been to court electrical engineers in the concept phase of product design, long before they start looking for parts.
But as the company continues to collect electronics trade publications, it faces questions about how these brands fit into its marketing plans. Matt Anderson, Arrow’s chief digital officer, has declared a firewall between the publishing and distribution sides of the business. And there have not been major changes to coverage on sites like EE Times.
But the sturdiness of that firewall can be unclear: On Monday, the firm’s new chief marketing officer was announced in Electronics Purchasing Strategies, an Aspencore property that competes with Source Today in electronics supply chain coverage. The press release was subsequently deleted. It has not been restored as of the publication of this article, though it continues to appear in search results.
John Hourigan, Arrow’s V.P. of global communications, confirmed that the contents of the press release were accurate. He declined to say why it had been removed. He also declined to comment on the future of the firewall between Arrow’s distribution and publishing units, citing the firewall. Bolaji Ojo, the editor of Electronics Purchasing Strategies, could not be reached for comment.