MICHAEL Hughey, the head of Australian-owned distributor IT Wholesale, is moving to Sydney next month to be group general manager of its parent company Cellnet Group.
But Hughey will not be replaced in New Zealand.
“Initially, he will be spending three weeks in Sydney and one week in New Zealand,” ITW spokesperson Kerry Eyre says. “There will be some slight structural changes, but nothing in terms of a new general manager.” Neither Eyre nor Hughey would give details of the pending restructure.
Hughey, originally from Christchurch, has been in charge of Cellnet’s New Zealand operation, registered as Cellular Cellnet, for most of its 10 years and set-up the ITW computer division.
The Brisbane-based company has its roots in mobile phone accessories but has since won handset distribution contracts, including the Telecom New Zealand one through its Cellect division.
Hughey says his “promotion” is part of Cellnet Group’s move to standardise channels and marketing across the two countries.
“We have to make sure what we do in Australia we do in New Zealand. I will be looking across the IT division and the telco division.” His other goal is to “lift” the company’s profile in Sydney.
Aside from the Telecom contract and set up of ITW, Hughey says company highlights during his tenure were the appointment as rival distributor to Tech Pacific for Hewlett-Packard printer supplies and being named distributor of the year for IBM xSeries in 2002.
He describes the brief marriage with SonicWall and short-lived engagement with Acer as “some of the funny ones”, when asked to name lowlights. “We didn’t even have an engagement with Acer — we didn’t even slip the ring on the finger.”
These instances show how computer vendors change their distributors much more often than phone companies do, Hughey says.
“I suppose it’s been a learning curve. The telcos have been a lot more established. [Companies like] SonicWall haven’t been here that long — they aren’t even really here.”
About a third of the company’s sales are from IT products. Cellnet Group employs around 70 permanent and 30 temporary staff in New Zealand.