Tech Data Lays Off Former STG Sales And Marketing VP In Wake Of Avnet TS Acquisition

Tech Data executive Aaron Zeper was laid off by the distributor Friday, less than 12 months after his former boss, Tech Data Services President Charles Layne, left the company.

Zeper, a vice president in the Global Lifecycle Services business, joined Tech Data with Layne following the distributor's 2015 acquisition of Phoenix-based solution provider Signature Technology Group, a data center specialist that gave Tech Data its first services capabilities. The two executives had both been with STG since 2011, with Zeper spearheading STG's sales, marketing and professional services efforts under Layne, who was STG CEO and president before the acquisition.

Zeper revealed the decision on LinkedIn, writing that the layoff left him unemployed for the first time in almost 20 years. He could not be reached for comment by CRN.

[Related: Avnet TS Emerging Channels Team Absorbed By Broader Tech Data Sales Unit]

"I want to extend my thanks to all the teammates, managers, coaches, mentors, and customers, who made this such a fun ride," Zeper wrote. "You have all contributed to my professional and personal growth. You know who you are, and the success we’ve had is because of YOU. I appreciate each of you and will SEE YOU AT THE TOP!"

Tech Data confirmed Zeper's departure to CRN, but did not disclose whether other STG-related services positions have been eliminated.

"As part of our integration efforts within our Global Lifecycle Services organization, we have restructured to align the teams and that position was eliminated," the company said in an email.

Tech Data's $2.6 billion acquisition of Avnet Technology Solutions, which closed in February, significantly enhanced the distributor's services offerings. With that purchase, Sergio Farache became senior vice president of the combined company's strategic business units, which included the Tech Data Services business.

A month later, top business development exec John O'Shea was named SVP of global services, which include Tech Data's product lifecycle services business. Layne became CEO of Phoenix-based Telesoft Corp. in April 2017, according to his profile on Bloomberg.com.

Zeper oversaw a team of 130 full-time and 300 contract employees around Tech Data's STG business, leading the marketing, operations and sales support teams for that group. Before joining STG, he spent six years as a top sales and marketing executive at IT services powerhouse Insight. Zeper was a 2017 CRN Channel Chief and a two-year advisory board member with CRN parent The Channel Company.

STG Tech Data, No. 443 on the 2017 CRN Solution Provider 500, was initially integrated as a standalone business unit within Tech Data's Advanced Infrastructure Solutions business.

Tech Data partners expressed concern to CRN over potential sales conflict following the STG acquisition, noting that the Clearwater, Fla.-based distributor could use client information to sell data center services directly to customers. Then-AIS senior vice president Chuck Bartlett said he believed it was the distributor's first instance of directly touching end users.

Consolidation has taken place at Tech Data since the Avnet deal closed. In March, Avnet's emerging channels client and partner recruiting team was folded into the combined company's sales organization.

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