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Tech Data names Rich Hume to take over as CEO

CLEARWATER — A longtime IBM executive is becoming the new leader of Tampa Bay’s largest public company.

Tech Data on Thursday named Richard "Rich" Hume as its new CEO effective June 6. Hume joined Tech Data two years ago and is currently the chief operating officer and executive vice president of the Clearwater-based IT distributor.

"(At IBM) I got to know Tech Data very well and enjoyed their culture and their company and how they engaged with the industry," he said in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times Thursday. "When Bob (Dutkowsky) had come to me and provided me the opportunity, I was very excited to come aboard."

Hume, 58, succeeds Robert "Bob" Dutkowsky, who has been CEO for the past 12 years and oversaw a huge leap in growing the company. Dutkowsky, 63, will transition into the role of executive chairman of the board. He has been member of the board of directors since 2006, and was named chairman last year.

Tech Data, largest public company in the bay area in terms of revenue, jumped to $36.8 billion in annual sales thanks largely to the acquisition of Avnet Technology Solutions. That deal, which closed 14 months ago, pushed the company into Asia for the first time.

The leadership transition began when Tech Data courted Hume away, and the longtime tech executive helped shepherd in Tech Data’s current business strategy, along with large acquisitions.

"We really believe that we found the perfect CEO," Dutkowsky said. "He brought a completely different set of skills to the company, focused on value-add growth opportunities."

Hume was attractive as a potential CEO in part because of his tenure with the industry — 30 years at IBM. He worked his way through several executive spots at the company, including chief operating officer of IBM’s infrastructure and outsourcing arm, Global Technology Services. More recently, he oversaw "growth and channel development initiatives" for IBM’s Business Partner Channel, where he developed a relationship with Tech Data.

Hume’s leadership style, Dutkowsky said, was also a significant draw.

"He’s very collaborative, approachable," Dutkowsky said. "He’s very decisive, and he makes decisions based on facts and data. He’s a really great team builder."

Now at the helm, Hume said his vision for the company is a continuation of efforts he’s been a part of the last two years.

"Most importantly, I view myself to be in service of the 15,000 people at Tech Data," he said. "I see it as my role to put them in a position to be successful."

Hume is taking some time to decide what his community involvement will be. He plans to choose three or four areas to focus on, "and those will become my passion," he said.

In recent years, Dutkowsky has expanded his civic involvement. He is a member of an advisory committee for the Tampa Bay Rays 2020 effort, a lead independent director for food distributor US Foods, board member for United Way Suncoast, council of governors member for Tampa Bay Partnership and advisory board member for the University of South Florida’s Muma College of Business.

Dutkowsky said he will continue to be involved in the community through his family foundation, but was not specific about other roles.

"We’re committed to Tampa as our base, and so my family will continue to remain involved," he said. "I’ll pick some spots that complement the direction that Rich wants to take, and I can help represent the company in those environments."

As he steps away from overseeing day-to-day operations at Tech Data, Dutkowsky said he has not decided his next step.

"I’ve been CEO of a public company for almost 20 years, and it’s an all-encompassing, draining responsibility," he said. "I’m going to step away and take a few deep breaths and figure out things that I might want to do."

Tech Data shares closed at $81.97 apiece Thursday, down just over 1 percent.

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Times staff writer Carl Lisciandrello contributed to this report. Contact this reporter at [email protected] or (727) 892-2249. Follow @malenacarollo

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