Lessons from Avnet’s Rapid Growth

In November, Roy Vallee, executive chairman of electronics distributor Avnet (NYSE: AVT), will retire after 35 years with the company. He served as president and COO from 1992 until 1998, when he was promoted to CEO - a position he held until July 2011. During his tenure, Vallee saw Avnet grow from a $2 billion company to a $26 billion company. Vallee recently spoke with Associate Editor Jenel Stelton-Holtmeier about his career at Avnet and the role acquisitions played in the success of the distributor.

 

MDM: Avnet's growth is in large part attributed to its acquisition strategy. But integration can sometimes be a challenge - finding a balance between maintaining the culture and what attracted Avnet to the company while at the same time making the acquired company a part of Avnet. How did Avnet achieve success with this? And how can other companies make it a smoother process?

Roy Vallee: We did our first large-scale integration back in 1993. And we had to figure out then the best way to deal with it. But one of the first things we decided was that we'd document the process that we used so that with our next acquisition, we could ...


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