Samsung merges IT & CE sales under Krieke

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Convergence has gone to Samsung's head with the creation of a new role heading up sales for the vendor's IT & Consumer Electronics divisions.

Norman Krieke, formerly the general manager of the IT division, took up his new role as sales director for IT and CE on 6 July.

Krieke's old role had seen him head up IT sales and marketing. With IT marketing subtracted from his role, the IT product managers are taking on marketing responsibilities. "I now have a pure sales focus," said Krieke.

Samsung's IT division is recruiting two more sales and marketing staff, as well as a replacement for AV marketing head Alex Streeter, who recently resigned.

Krieke is no stranger to Samsung's CE division, having previously spent five years handling the marketing for the division from 1991 to 1996.

The decision to combine CE & IT sales under one role will help Samsung move towards product convergence in the long term, while allowing the vendor to apply some business successes achieved in the IT division across the CE division, said Krieke. It was a locally made decision, he added.

"We've had enormous success in IT - restructuring our channel and getting excellent results. We're trying to get the same turnaround on the CE side," said Krieke. While part of the success in the IT side had come from rationalising the IT division and paring down distribution partners, Krieke said a similar restructure wasn't on the agenda for the CE side, which includes retail partners Harvey Norman, Retravision and Myer.

"We're not envisaging any rationalisation per se, just improving how we're interacting with them," said Krieke. "At the moment we're in a fact gathering stage - looking at our business mix, range and depth of product, and how important we are to those partners."

Internally, IT and CE had already been working quite closely and this was set to grow, said Krieke. "Globally there's a real push in that direction. Categories such as monitors and televisions were already overlapping, he said. "We're now looking at multifunction monitors or LCD TVs working as monitors. Those divisions need to work closely together to serve both those markets."

The IT restructure and addition of more staff would prime Samsung and its channel to best market forthcoming products, including its release of notebook PCs, slated for around Q4, said Krieke.

Krieke's takeover of IT and CE sales follows the departure of Alex Streeter, who headed up marketing for Samsung's AV division until his resignation on 2 July. Krieke said Streeter's departure - understood to be to a competitor - was a coincidence. "This was planned before Alex even announced he was leaving," said Krieke.

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