Exclusive Networks (‘Exclusive’) today announced the appointment of Jesper Trolle as CEO with immediate effect. Trolle joins Exclusive from ECS Arrow Electronics, where he is currently President of the Americas, and will be responsible for driving the next phase of growth at the company and upscaling the business. Trolle takes over from Olivier Breittmayer who becomes a non-executive Board member of Exclusive. The move is part of a planned succession strategy and Trolle will work alongside Breittmayer for the next three months to ensure a smooth transition.
Vastly experienced and recognised as an entrepreneurial business leader within the IT industry, Trolle has spent over 28 years working in the sector, initially within the reseller community, before moving into distribution. In 2001 he founded Next Denmark A/S which was acquired by DNS Denmark, which in turn was acquired by Arrow in 2005. Since then, Jesper has held a number of diverse positions in multiple locations within Arrow, seeing rapid success and progression, including stints in Germany running central and eastern Europe, and Paris, running north-west Europe. He took up the role as Arrow’s President Americas in 2017, based out of Denver, Colorado, where he has successfully grown a double-digit $bn business.
Speaking about the appointment, Breittmayer said, “Jesper was the standout choice following an intensive search and selection process these last six months or so. His cultural and international experience, obvious entrepreneurial DNA, knowledge of upscaling global businesses at pace and empathy with value-based distribution is impressive and refreshing. It is with confidence and a smile that we are getting such a capable person to take over the helm of the business we’ve grown by some 2,000% over the last 17 years.”
Talking of his appointment Trolle added, “Opportunities like this do not come around that often, but in distribution, Exclusive is at the top of the list if they do. I’m delighted to be joining such a successful company with a strong reputation for innovation and exceptional growth. Exclusive is renowned for its disruptive approach and relentless focus on value creation for its partners. When given the opportunity to become a part of the Exclusive family and next phase of its journey, it was an easy and fast decision to make.
“Olivier’s vision of creating the only specialist distributor on a global scale, focused on high performance cybersecurity infrastructure, was imaginative and disruptive – and that vision has become reality. Exclusive continues to buck market trends, growing at pace organically, expanding geographically and still disrupting. The only thing that hasn’t changed or been diluted is the obsession with value, services and specialism. This scale and specialist approach has never before been achieved. My job is clear: turn the global presence into a cybersecurity infrastructure powerhouse, at scale and speed, and it is a challenge I relish, feel qualified to do and very much look forward to,” concluded Trolle.
Michail Zekkos, Partner at Permira, and a member of Exclusive’s Board of Directors, commented, “Olivier is a pioneer and a true inspiration in modern day value-based distribution. It was a hard task to find his natural replacement, but in Jesper we feel we have done just that. He’s exceptionally talented and culturally very aligned to L’Esprit Exclusive. Olivier’s vision of building the Exclusive ‘Network’ of value-based distribution businesses, globally guided but locally delivered, was unique. “The business has consistently outperformed market growth rates; expanded at breathtaking speed and delivered financial results that are exceptional for the sector. This is a great platform from which Jesper can continue the adventure and scale-out the business, and with his vision, multicultural background and experience of growth at scale we feel confident he is more than able to meet the challenge.
“Myself and the rest of the Exclusive family thank Olivier wholeheartedly for his indelible impact on the company, and welcome him onto the Board of Directors.”
Breittmayer added finally, “It’s not goodbye, it’s à plus tard.”
FAQ Appointment of New CEO
Why is Olivier Breittmayer standing down? Why now?
Olivier founded Exclusive Networks and had led the company ever since. He has chosen the timing of this change to step back after over 15 years working in a very demanding role. He has achieved significant success and feels the time is right to pass on the responsibilities to a highly qualified and accomplished successor – Jesper Trolle – who he led the selection process for.
Why is the appointment being made ‘with immediate effect’?
The opportunity to appoint the outstanding candidate came with the opportunity to begin immediately. The decision was made, the structures are in place and the transition period would in any case have begun whenever Jesper was able to start. There would be no benefit from delaying.
What will be the operational impact of replacing CEOs?
There is no operational impact on day-to-day business. In the last 2-3 years, Exclusive Networks has added considerable strength to its management team with EVPs Andy Travers (Worldwide Sales & Marketing) and Julien Antoine (Strategy & Operations) in key positions alongside CFO Pierre Boccon-Liaudet, SVP EMEA Gerard Allison, SVP APAC Brad Gray, SVP Americas Scott Lewis and SVP Marketing & Communications Barrie Desmond.
As founder and visionary for the company, Olivier is unique. But with the considerable experience of Jesper Trolle, the established foundations of the business in place (including a broad and highly capable management team), customers, partners and staff will not be unduly affected. Additional resilience is assured by Exclusive Networks’ decentralised, ‘centre-weighted’ operational structure, which is designed for autonomy, fast decision making and minimal points of dependency.
Finally, Olivier and Jesper will be working closely together over the first three months as part of the transition process to ensure continuity.
Why is Jesper Trolle considered the optimum CEO appointment?
Vastly experienced and recognised as an entrepreneurial business leader within the IT industry, Jesper has spent over 28 years working in the sector, initially within the reseller community, before moving into distribution. In 2001 he founded Next Denmark A/S which was acquired by DNS Denmark, which in turn was acquired by Arrow in 2005. Since then, Jesper has held a number of diverse positions in multiple locations within Arrow, seeing rapid success and progression.
Jesper is the ideal leader to take Exclusive to the next stage of scale and success, having worked around the world at the head of multi-billion-dollar organisations. His last role at Arrow was as President of the Americas, and he brings a wealth of experience, entrepreneurial DNA, deep knowledge of upscaling global businesses and a strong commitment to adding and creating value in distribution.
What are his priorities? What does he plan to change?
Jesper has acknowledged the robust platform he has inherited and, in keeping with any significant executive appointment, will be spending a significant amount of time learning the business, meeting colleagues and speaking with customers. He is currently based in Denver in the US and plans to relocate to Paris with his family.
Jesper has publicly stated that, “My job is clear: turn the global presence into a global cybersecurity infrastructure powerhouse, at scale and speed, and it is a challenge I relish, feel qualified to do and very much look forward to.”
How will the Exclusive Networks change in the future?
Exclusive Networks has always thrived on change and disruption, enabling partners to capitalise on fast-changing technologies, market needs and business models. This imperative is driven by the strong and distinctive Exclusive Networks culture that will continue to be paramount under Jesper’s leadership.
These and other characteristics of Exclusive’s global reputation – such as innovation, value creation and growth – are not expected to change; Jesper’s immediate focus is to propel the business to the next level of scale.
What will this mean for vendor and reseller partners?
Partners will be positively impacted by a renewed commitment to growth and success from the very top of Exclusive Networks. Jesper Trolle is vastly experienced in this industry in taking large multi-billion-dollar distribution businesses to new levels of growth and scale. This proven ability is acutely relevant to Exclusive’s current status as a highly successful, rapid growth organisation with approximately $3bn annual revenues and locations throughout EMEA, APAC and North America.
What will this mean for staff?
The Exclusive Networks family is warmly welcoming Jesper on board and looking ahead to future success, supporting customers and partners as the global economy reshapes and recovers from the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. There is no question of any negative impact upon staff associated with Jesper’s arrival or Olivier’s change of role.
We have demonstrated our intention to continue expanding during this period, taking on more people with recent strategic acquisitions in Hong Kong and CEE growing our presence and influence worldwide. We remain committed to future growth and scale, and a culture that nurtures and rewards our people.
What will Olivier’s new role entail?
Olivier will continue to be an active and supportive member of the Exclusive family in his new position as non-executive Board member. This will provide the management team with the benefit of Olivier’s considerable experience, relationships and business acumen.