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Mon 1 Jan 2007 05:49 PM

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New year, new manager

Varghese to lead Toshiba in 2007 after Khalil calls time on career with vendor

Santosh Varghese - who was promoted to the position of assistant general manager at Toshiba Middle East and Africa only three months ago - has landed the top job at the notebook vendor following the surprise departure of regional boss Ahmed Khalil at the end of last year. Varghese will now oversee Toshiba's strategy in the region and attempt to match the success that Khalil enjoyed throughout his seven-year spell at Toshiba.

"Taking on this role will be a challenging and interesting opportunity though I am sure that my previous experience will assist me in achieving Toshiba Computer Systems Division's regional objectives," said Varghese. "Ahmed Khalil steered the division's regional strategy with tremendous results in the last few years and I will be looking to further strengthen our market-leading position and take Toshiba's notebook business to the next level of excellence," he added. His appointment has been backed by Peter Ickx, general manager for emerging markets EMEA at Toshiba, who believes Varghese has the ability to carry on Khalil's good work. "Santosh has been with Toshiba for four years and during this time has shown remarkable strategic and leadership skills," said Ickx. "These skills are primary requirements for a Toshiba general manager and an invaluable asset. I am certain his new vision for its regional notebook division will help us reach new heights," he added.

Under Khalil's leadership, Toshiba became a dominant force in the regional notebook sector with top three status in most Middle East markets. During the third quarter of 2006, the company shipped almost 88,000 laptops and leapt above Acer and HP to the number one spot. Year-on-year growth of 84% during the quarter more than doubled the rate recorded by the overall market.

The timing of Khalil's departure has surprised many in the industry, particularly after he cited the company's channel strategy and product range as key reasons for its third quarter success.

He had also spent the latter part of the year assembling a strong management team that included new managers in Saudi Arabia and the Levant, and the elevation of Varghese from a sales and marketing role to regional assistant, where he has been involved in the firm's business and product planning activities in MEA. Speaking exclusively to
Channel Middle East

, Khalil said he wished to move on in order to pursue opportunities elsewhere.

"I have spent some seven years with Toshiba and it is a great company and one that is very hard to walk away from," he said. "We have built up a very strong team in the Middle East and it is a team that Toshiba can rely on moving forwards. It is time for me to look at new opportunities and explore other career options," he concluded.

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