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Product Category Director Industrial

United States, Illinois, Chicago
June 21, 2022


Farnell, an Avnet company, is a global high-service distributor of technology products, services and solutions for electronic system design, maintenance and repair.

Job Description


We are looking for a strong Product Category Director for a really fast moving part of our business.

No electronics industry experience is needed but it would be advantageous. This is more about bringing a fresh new approach to the commercial vision, bringing new ideas to the table and being able to inspire and be a leader of change.

This role is hugely important to the future direction of this sector and how we perform in the market over the coming years.

Job Summary

The Product Category Director is accountable for financial and market performance of circa 10 Product Business Units. The role leads a global multi-layer organization with circa 25 individuals located across multiple geographies.

The Industrial role will be responsible for developing Farnell's Global Industrial Product strategy and product business units with the goal of becoming a relevant high service distributor in this vertical market. The primary aim is to identify new Industrial products and suppliers to complement Farnell's existing ranges.

Each product business unit will be empowered to design and execute a strategy that will drive financial results and enable above market rate growth. As a Product Category Director Industrial you're responsible for enabling the success of these business units globally.

You will guide each business unit in creating the product, price and inventory strategy that will gain market share, increase our customer base and provide a stable and growing operating income % throughout all stages of the product and market lifecycle. You will focus on leading and developing the product proposition through digital channels first and support sales and marketing teams to create a multi-channel approach.

Success depends on strong leadership across the Farnell organization, excellent collaboration, and outstanding relationships with suppliers and customers.

What's In It For You

Along with offering a very competitive salary package, we also offer:

  • A supportive team environment where everyone really is working toward the same goal.
  • A strong open door policy within senior management
  • An environment where you will be given the tools and opportunities to further your career
  • Car Allowance
  • Pension scheme
  • Private Medical cover
  • 25 days holiday plus bank holidays with option to buy additional holiday
  • FREE Onsite Parking when at the office
  • Flexible home working
  • Cycle to work Scheme
  • Reward schemes
  • and more..

The ideal person will have:

  • The ability to drive change
  • The ability to lead and inspire internal teams and employees as well as holding the team accountable
  • Gravitas and passion to create, sell and acquire buy in to a vision
  • Some electronics industry would be advantageous but not necessary
  • A strong understanding of change management
  • Able to gain support for strategies through the use of influencing skills
  • Able to demonstrate complex thinking and sound, independent judgment in problem resolution
  • Possesses strong business and financial acumen
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to work effectively at all levels of the organization to inspire diverse teams, and forge relationships with key suppliers and customers
  • Able to adapt their leadership skills to meet the changing demands of a situation

What You Will Be Doing

  • Own sales and margin globally, take matrix leadership of working capital, inventory provision, cost to serve, customer base growth and OI%
  • Lead and manage a team using a range of leadership styles and tools. Promote strong accountability and manage performance daily
  • Own driving business online through delivering a compelling online product proposition - bringing together product range, inventory, service and price.
  • Enable success within the sales organizations by providing direction and support across inside sales, outside sales and marketing through digital and offline channels
  • Deliver an Industrial category product and supplier strategy in line with the overall Farnell business strategy
  • Build relationships with suppliers that extract an unfair share of value
  • Identify suppliers and technologies that will diversify and enhance the category
  • Collaborate beyond the Farnell organization with CPC and the greater Avnet organization
  • Gather, interpret and share market intelligence and market share performance data to enable better decisions across Farnell and Avnet Inc.
  • Understand and translate customer needs and market share gaining enhancements into business deliverables
  • Other duties as assigned.

Span of Control:

  • Provides leadership and direction through Product Segment Leaders, Supplier Account Mangers, Business Development Managers and Assistant Product Managers
  • Accountable for the performance and results of a major category that has cross-organizational impact and is comprised of multiple departments and/or teams located in multiple countries.

Policy and Strategy:

  • Establishes policies appropriate for the category.
  • Interprets and recommends modifications to enterprise-wide policies and practices.
  • Develops and owns category business plans and category strategies.
  • Responsible for efficient utilization of resources within the category.

Level of Supervision:

  • Objectives are defined in collaboration with VP Product & Supplier Management and results assessed with a long-term perspective.
  • Decisions are guided by business requirements as well as category strategy and priorities.


  • Collaborates with category peers, senior and executive management and others of various business units concerning matters of significance to the company, e.g. end-to-end value proposition to provide a seamless customer experience
  • Routinely conducts briefings for executive management and/or key external contacts.
  • Influences senior and executive management of suppliers/clients.
  • Partners with Finance and GIS on reporting and systems planning.

Scope of Impact:

  • Decisions likely have serious impact on the overall success or failure of a category and function.
  • Erroneous decisions or recommendations result in critical delays or modifications to company objectives and cause long-term harm to business operations.

What We Are Looking For

  • Proven ability to lead large global organizations, and execute through direct and indirect management
  • Ability to develop and maintain strong relationships with colleagues, suppliers and customers, and leverage these relationships to attain business goals and shape business strategy
  • Experience in leading and developing multi-layer teams as well as managing optimal performance of individuals
  • Understanding a category management, preferably in an online environment in a B2B sector
  • Provides strong leadership and effectively drives change
  • Drive a continuous improvement mindset to identify and implement efficiencies

Work Experience:

  • Typically 10+ years including 5+ years of management experience
  • Experience/Knowledge in electronics or other or other online category management would be advantageous but not essential
  • Experience leading a global team where collaboration and relationship building are key to success
  • Experience in an ecommerce and multichannel environment


    The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed. They are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and skills.

    Avnet is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, or protected veteran status and will not be discriminated against on the basis of disability. If you are interested in applying for employment with Avnet and need special assistance or an accommodation to apply for a posted position contact our Human Resources Service Center in your region: Americas applicants - , Asia applicants - , EMEA applicants - .

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