Larry White explains his pressure-packed new role at TABS and sheds light on the company’s plans to get back into the acquisitions game.
Last week Toshiba America Business Solutions, Inc. (TABS) announced that Larry White has been named its Chief Revenue Officer. Larry has been with Toshiba for 21 years, most recently serving as senior vice present of sales for the Americas.
In this newly created position, Larry is responsible for achieving company revenue objectives, developing revenue and profit growth strategies, and as pointed out in a TABS press release, driving customer value through both the company’s direct and indirect channels.
This week, I spoke with Larry about his new position and the impact it will have on TABS, Toshiba Business Solutions (TBS), and the Toshiba dealer channel, a channel with whom Larry has had a long, close personal relationship.
Congratulations, how does it feel to have a new title?
White: Overwhelming to be honest with you, kind of cool.
What does this new title mean?
White: I am responsible for all revenue generation for TBS and TABS.
Will you still be interacting with dealers as you have in the past?
White: Yes, but with the change, there’s a void where my responsibility was strictly with the dealer. Ted Leblanc will be the vice president of our dealer channel and report to me. He’s a great guy, has a lot of industry experience, and is a great choice.
In this new role you’ll be working closely with TBS, have you worked with TBS much in the past?
White: Yes, when I came to Toshiba, I was brought here to get their acquisitions business kickstarted. I did that for the first three years of my career here.
One of the quotes in last week’s press release stated that you will have the opportunity to leverage a more cohesive and integrated organization toward continued great success. Tell me about this more cohesive and integrated organization—you are talking dealer and branches, right?
White: That’s a small piece of it. We haven’t started making these changes yet, but you’ll see for example, TBS had their own marketing group, [and now] they’ll be integrated with what we do here with TABS. On the solutions side, we’re going to work on making that group more cohesive with TABS and our strategies.
Why was it necessary to create this position?
White: We had two different people running two different parts of a sales organization. [When you do that,] you tend to have silos. I’m proud of the fact we really didn’t, but now with one person responsible for all of TABS revenue that eliminates the possibility of that happening.
Do you think your dealers will see it that way?
White: The dealers I’ve spoken with so far have been extremely supportive. Not to toot our own horn, but we probably have the best relationship between our branches and our dealers of any manufacturer in the industry.
What has you jazzed about this new position?
White: I absolutely love the dealer channel because that’s where I came up through the ranks, but it’s being the person responsible for revenue and assets, and whether it’s growing or not. The buck stops here.
Is that more pressure than what you’ve been accustomed to in the past?
White: I’m sure it will be.
Do you thrive under pressure?
White: There’s an old saying that one of my old colleagues used to say, “I eat pressure for breakfast.”
You’ve seen a lot of changes in the industry and with Toshiba, what has you excited about the company at this moment in time?
White: It’s always interesting, there’s always something happening. MFP placements, they’re certainly not growing at any rapid pace, so we have to steal marketplace from somebody else, and we have to look for new innovative streams of revenue. That’s exciting—looking to transform the business and the industry and how that continues to change.
What do you really need to get done today?
White: Fine-tuning the organization. We’re not really combining the organizations. Obviously, there’s some gaps within the organization and for some restructuring to make sure the right people are in the right positions to grow the business. The success of any organization is reliant on the people who are executing the plan. You need the right people in the right places, doing the right jobs.
When we talk a year from now, what will you be telling me about what you accomplished in your first year in this position?
White: One of the things you’ll see if I’ve done my job correctly is that we have acquired dealers both as an offensive and a defensive strategy over the next 12 months and integrated them into our organization. Second, if the organization has grown over the next 12 months. It’s such an obvious benchmark, but if you’re not growing, you’re dying.
Refresh my memory, when was the last acquisition made?
There’s been quite the gap between then and now?
White: From 1996-2008, we were probably one of the leading companies out there other than Global buying companies. The economic downturn put the skids on that.
Do you feel that there’s a fair amount of suitable acquisitions opportunities out there?
White: I think so. [Dealers] under $20 million are our sweet spot in our acquisitions strategy. Whenever a dealer hears a manufacturing is going out and buying dealers, they think one of two things: “That’s great, I do want to sell some time, so I’ll sell to my manufacturer.” Or, especially if they’re doing well, “They’re going to buy a dealer in our back yard.” We have a more market-based strategy when we acquire companies. If we’re doing well in a marketplace with our dealers, we’re not looking to buy.
Any other message you want to get across to our readers that I did not ask you about?
White: We’ve always had a reputation as a company that’s easy to do business with, and we certainly aren’t going to change that one bit. We want to continue to make sure we’re supporting our dealer community at the highest level possible to help them grow and meet their business objectives.
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