CDW's chief executive officer to retire

 
Daily Herald Report
Updated 9/18/2018 4:47 PM
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  • Courtesy of CDWTom Richards, CEO of CDW, will retire and be replaced by Christine Leahy. The company has its executive offices in Lincolnshire.

    Courtesy of CDWTom Richards, CEO of CDW, will retire and be replaced by Christine Leahy. The company has its executive offices in Lincolnshire.

  • Christine Leahy

    Christine Leahy

  • CDW CEO Tom Richards will retire at the end of the year.

    CDW CEO Tom Richards will retire at the end of the year.

  • Chris Corley

    Chris Corley

CDW longtime executive Christine Leahy will replace CEO Tom Richards when he retires at the end of the year.

Richards, who also serves as chairman of the technology products seller, will step down on Dec. 31, after serving nine years with the Vernon Hills-based company.

Under Richards' leadership the company grew from $9.6 billion in revenue in 2011 to more than $15 billion in 2017 and rose from No. 270 on the Fortune 500 list to No. 189. Since the company's initial public offering in 2013, its share price has increased fivefold, delivering a current market capitalization of $13 billion. The company, founded in 1984, has executive offices in Lincolnshire and employs more than 8,900 people.

"Being a part of CDW and collaborating with co-workers to drive its success has been an honor. I'm deeply proud of all we've achieved together. This is the right time for this transition," Richards said in a statement Tuesday. "CDW today is stronger than ever, and Chris Leahy is the right choice to lead us into our next chapter. Chris has been instrumental in the development of our strategy and demonstrates that rare combination of skills and traits that make her ideally suited to be CEO: she has a strategic mind with an execution instinct, she's a continuous learner with a passion for our co-workers and culture, and she is relentlessly focused on the customer experience," Richards said.

Leahy is currently chief revenue officer, responsible for all customer-facing units of the company, including its corporate, public, small business, international, and strategic solutions and services organizations. Leahy joined CDW as general counsel and a member of the executive committee in 2002. Prior to her role as chief revenue officer, she served as senior vice president, international, where she was responsible for the performance of CDW's international business, having led the development of the company's international strategy, including the acquisition of Kelway, now CDW UK.

"CDW is a remarkable place. Throughout four decades, CDW's steadfast commitment to our customers, co-workers, and partners has resulted in a unique constant within an ever-changing industry -- performance that outpaces the market and fuels our ability to evolve and innovate to serve our stakeholders," Leahy said.

Christina Corley will become chief operating officer, while Richards will become executive chairman of the board of directors and serve through at least 2019.

Corley will be responsible for sales and sales operations, strategic solutions & services, and international. She joined CDW in 2011 and is currently senior vice president of commercial and international markets for CDW. Corley is responsible for all aspects of the corporate sales force and for CDW's international growth platform, including CDW Canada and CDW UK.

"Chris Corley is an exceptional leader with broad industry experience and a deep commitment to our customers," Leahy said.

Speaking on behalf of the board of directors, Barry K. Allen, lead director said, "We have worked closely with Tom through a deliberative, thoughtful succession process to identify the next CEO and the right structure to enable CDW's future success. Today we celebrate and thank Tom for his enormous contributions, and we look toward the future with great confidence."

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