Wes Smith Appointed as NAED President & CEO - Modern Distribution Management

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Wes Smith Appointed as NAED President & CEO

Former Rexel USA and Mayer executive Wes Smith served as NAED Chairman from 2020-2022.
MDM-NAED CEO Wes Smith
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Eight months after its former leader resigned, the National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) has named a permanent successor.

NAED announced Feb. 6 that it has appointed Wes Smith as its new President and CEO, effective immediately, bringing in a veteran electrical supplies industry executive to lead the organization.

Smith previously worked as the Senior Advisor for Rexel USA and as President and CEO of Mayer prior to Mayer becoming part of Rexel. NAED noted that Smith’s career grew up in the industry, starting in the warehouse and working through various roles in finance, technology, continuous improvement, operations and strategy.

“We wanted someone with a technology bent and an eye over the horizon,” John Cain, NAED Board Chair said in a news release. “We also wanted someone who knew the industry as a distributor but fully understood the importance of relationships with our manufacturer partners and other critical players in the industry.”

Smith succeeds Tom Naber at NAED, who became its president in 2001 and CEO in 2008. Naber resigned on June 2, 2023, and NAED has since been led by interim CEO Ed Orlet, the group’s Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and Strategic Projects.

Smith has extensive experience with NAED, serving as its chairman from 2020-2022, during which he helped navigate the association during the COVID-19 pandemic. He remained on the NAED Executive Committee as Past Chair until his appointment as President and CEO. Smith has been involved with IDEA over the past 20 years, including past IDEA Chair.

“Ed kept the train on the track and moving forward, which is no small feat,” Cain added. “He was just the right person at the right time. I can’t thank Ed enough for stepping in and leading NAED in the job that he has done, and I look forward to working closely with Ed. He has so much internal experience at the association, and I will rely on him as a key advisor moving forward.”

This past November, Smith was the first-ever distributor representative to earn the National Electrical Manufacturers Association’s highest honor, the Bernard H. Falk Award, which is given in recognition of outstanding achievement in technology, management, marketing, international trade, education, public affair or any other field important to the electro industry.

“I couldn’t be more excited to spend the rest of my now 40-year electrical career as part of our industry association, working on our collective behalf,” Smith said. “There has never been a more exciting time to be in this industry. The bar at NAED is high; we will only achieve our goals through a strong and healthy culture that brings out the best in the association.”

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