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Tapped into Online Forums for Engineers, Avnet Hires New Distribution President

Avnet hired Philip Gallagher as the new president of its core distribution business. The changes comes as the distributor digests its acquisitions of Premier Farnell and Hackster.

Avnet hired a new president for its core distribution business to supervise supplier relationships, global procurement, and supply chain solutions. Philip Gallagher, who left the company in 2014 after 30 years to become president of American sales for TTI, a rival distributor, is taking the job.

Gallagher’s direct reports are Avnet’s three regional presidents for the Americas, Europe, and Asia Pacific region. Gallagher, who served as the president of Avnet’s electronics component business in the Americas from 2004 to 2009, will report to chief executive William Amelio.

The hire, announced on Tuesday, is the latest retooling of Avnet’s executive ranks. Last month, it promoted Lou Lutostanski as vice president of Internet of Things, who will report directly to Pete Bartolotta, the so-called chief transformation officer, who is in charge of shifting Avnet’s core business toward embedded electronics.

That shift began last year when Avnet completed a $911 million deal for Premier Farnell, the maker of the Raspberry Pi computer widely used to teach programming to students and hobbyists. The deal came at the same time as a more symbolic changing-of-the-guard: Avnet’s chief executive, Rick Hamada, stepped down to be replaced by Amelio.

Its new strategy also involves tapping into online spaces where developers and tinkerers share tips for creating internet-connected devices. It's not a far cry from how Arrow Electronics bought the electronics publications of Hearst and UBM, including EE Times, a competitor to Source Today’s sister website, Electronic Design.

When it bought Premier Farnell, Avnet acquired an online platform called element 14, which claims to have 430,000 members in 36 countries. Last year, Avnet also acquired – an online community that provides tips for making embedded hardware – with an eye toward luring almost 200,000 engineers and developers.

To pay for these deals, the company offloaded its Technology Solutions unit, which supplied information technology services, software, and hardware. The $2.65 billion cash-and-stock sale closed in late February.

“What an exciting time to rejoin Avnet,” said Gallagher, the new distribution president, in a statement. “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.”

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