Arrow Electronics

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Coordinates: 39°35′26″N 104°52′09″W / 39.590568°N 104.869118°W / 39.590568; -104.869118

Arrow Electronics, Inc.
TypePublic company
Founded1935, New York City
HeadquartersCentennial, Colorado[1]
Key people
Michael J. Long, President & CEO,
Chris Stansbury, SVP and CFO
RevenueIncrease US$34.5 billion (2021)[2]
Increase US$1.6 billion (2021)[2]
Increase US$1.1 billion (2021)[2]
Total assetsIncrease US$19.5 billion (2021)[2]
Total equityIncrease US$5.3 billion (2021)[2]
Number of employees
20,700 (December 2021)[2]

Arrow Electronics is an American Fortune 500 company headquartered in Centennial, Colorado. The company specializes in distribution and value added services relating to electronic components and computer products. The company ranked No. 102 in the 2021 Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by total revenue.[3]


Arrow Electronics was founded in 1935 when a retail store named Arrow Radio opened on Cortlandt Street in the heart of lower Manhattan's "Radio Row," the birthplace of electronics distribution. Arrow Radio, established by Maurice ("Murray") Goldberg, sold used radios and radio parts to retail customers. Other industry pioneers with businesses nearby were Charles Avnet and Seymour Schweber.

By the 1940s, Arrow was selling new radios—manufactured by RCA, GE, and Philco—and other home entertainment products, as well as surplus radio parts that were retailed over-the-counter in a parts department at the back of the store. Soon the firm started seeking franchises to sell new parts; the first manufacturers to franchise Arrow were RCA and Cornell Dubilier. The business was incorporated as Arrow Electronics, Inc. in 1946.

In the early 1950s, with additional franchises and a small field sales organization, Arrow began selling electronic parts to industrial customers. A second storefront/sales office was opened in Mineola, Long Island in 1956. By 1961, when the company completed its initial public offering and listed its shares on the American Stock Exchange, total sales amounted to $4 million, over half of which came from the industrial sales division, with the remainder from the traditional retail business. During the 1960s, Arrow moved its headquarters to Farmingdale, New York (Long Island), and opened additional branches in Norwalk, Connecticut and Totowa, New Jersey. The company relocated its headquarters office to Centennial, Colorado in 2011.[4]

In 1968, Glenn, Green & Waddell, a partnership formed by three recent graduates of the Harvard Business School, B. Duke Glenn, Jr., Roger E. Green, and John C. Waddell, led a private investor group that acquired the controlling interest in Arrow. The investors saw an opportunity to consolidate the fragmented electronics industry. Duke Glenn served as chairman.


Entering the 1970s with $9 million of annual distribution sales, Arrow ranked no. 12 among U.S. electronics distributors. No. 1-ranked Avnet was 8-times Arrow's size.

During the ’70s decade, by winning key semiconductor franchises (led by Texas Instruments in 1970) and opening sales offices in over 20 U.S. cities, Arrow grew its electronics distribution business at an average annual rate of 34 percent. By the end of the decade, the company's electronics distribution sales had climbed to $177 million, making Arrow the country's second largest electronics distributor.

The company took on high levels of debt through frequent public bond offerings, to fund its growth strategy. Additional growth capital was provided through the 1969 acquisition of Schuylkill Metals Corporation, a lead recycling company. (This business, having served its purpose, was sold in 1987 amidst problems associated with being designated an EPA Superfund site contaminated with lead and chromium.[5])

In the 1970s, Arrow discontinued its retail operations and inaugurated the electronics distribution's first integrated on-line, real-time computer system to provide up-to-the-minute inventory positions and facilitate remote order entry. In 1979, Arrow was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. That same year, it acquired Cramer Electronics (historically the U.S.’s second-largest distributor), the company's first major industry acquisition, which provided access to many markets in the western United States.

1980s to present[edit]

On December 4, 1980, a fire in a Harrison, New York, hotel conference center killed 13 members of Arrow's senior management, including Glenn and Green. Waddell assumed leadership and, in 1982, recruited Stephen P. Kaufman, formerly a partner of McKinsey & Company, to join Arrow as President of the company's Electronics Distribution Division. Kaufman succeeded Waddell as CEO in 1986 and as chairman in 1994.[6]

In 1988, Arrow adopted a growth strategy by acquiring Kierulff Electronics. According to Forbes, the company closed down all four Kierulff Electronics warehouses and within a year it experienced "miraculous" growth that went from a bottom line of $16 million loss in 1987 to operating profits of $10 million.[7]

During his nearly two decades with Arrow, Kaufman led the company's consolidation of the U.S. electronics distribution industry as well as the company's expansion into Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. Under Kaufman's leadership, Arrow completed over 50 acquisitions of electronics distributors, including such prominent names as Ducommun (Kierulff), Lex (Schweber), Zeus, Anthem, Bell, and Wyle (all in the U.S.), Spoerle (Germany), Silverstar (Italy), and CAL (Hong Kong and China). Kaufman also led the company into the national distribution of commercial computer products, initially through its acquisition of Gates/FA Distributing. Arrow entered the 21st century with global sales of $9 billion—$6 billion of electronic components and $3 billion of computer products.

Kaufman stepped down as CEO in 2000, retired as chairman in 2002, and was succeeded by Daniel W. Duval, a 15-year Arrow board veteran. In 2003, William E. Mitchell, former President of the Global Services Division of Solectron Corporation, joined Arrow as chief executive officer and,[8] in 2006, became chairman. During Mitchell's six years at Arrow, sales climbed to $17 billion as the company increased shareholder returns, improved operating efficiencies, and completed 17 acquisitions.

In 2009, Michael J. Long succeeded Mitchell as CEO, and in 2010 took over as chairman.[9][10] A long-time Arrow executive, Long joined the company in 1991 and served in various senior management positions before becoming CEO. Since Long's appointment, Arrow has completed over 40 strategic acquisitions that further expand its global components and computer systems businesses. In 2015, Arrow acquired United Technical Publishing from Hearst, adding properties such as Electronic Products and[11] In June 2016, UBM reached agreement to divest its electronics media portfolio to an affiliate of Arrow Electronics Inc. for a cash consideration of $23.5m. The portfolio comprises the US and Asian versions of EE Times, EDN, ESM, Embedded, EBN, TechOnline and[12]

The company ranked No. 102 in the 2021 Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by total revenue.[3]

On May 16, 2022, Arrow announced the current Chief Operating Officer Sean Kerins will be taking over as CEO on June 1, 2022. They also announced Kirk Schell will become president of the company’s global components business.[13]

Recent acquisitions[edit]

Company Name Business Country Date of Acquisition Reference
eInfochips Product Engineering and R&D Services India Jan 2018 [14]
UBM Tech Electronics Network Electronics Media and Publishing UK June 2016 [15]
Distribution Central Electronic Component Distribution Australia Mar 2016 [16]
immixGroup Information technology Public sector Distribution United States March 2015 [17]
ATM Electronic Electronic Component Distribution Taiwan Feb 2015 [18]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Arrow Electronics to move HQ and 500 local workers to Centennial". Denver Post. Retrieved October 1, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Arrow Electronics Annual Report (Form 10-K)". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. February 11, 2022.
  3. ^ a b "Arrow Electronics, Inc. (ARW) Company Profile, News, Rankings | Fortune". FORTUNE. Retrieved June 8, 2021.
  4. ^ "Arrow relocates to Colorado". Denver Post. Digital First Media. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  5. ^ The Schuylkill Metals Corporation Superfund site was active on the EPA's National Priorities List from 1983 until it was cleaned up 2001.
  6. ^ Hartman, Amir (July 9, 2003). Ruthless Execution: What Business Leaders Do When Their Companies Hit the Wall. Pearson Education. ISBN 9780132704014.
  7. ^ "Arrow Electronics, Inc. – Company Profile, Information, Business Description, History, Background Information on Arrow Electronics, Inc". Retrieved February 16, 2018.
  8. ^ "Arrow Electronics, Form 8-K, Current Report, Filing Date Jan 21, 2003". Retrieved January 14, 2013.
  9. ^ "Arrow Electronics, Form 8-K, Current Report, Filing Date Mar 3, 2009" (PDF). Retrieved January 14, 2013.
  10. ^ "Arrow Electronics, Form 8-K, Current Report, Filing Date Dec 14, 2009". Retrieved January 14, 2013.
  11. ^ Novinson, Michael (February 20, 2015). "Arrow Acquires United Technical Publishing, Boosting Content, Design Skills". CRN. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  12. ^ "News | UBM". Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. Retrieved April 28, 2017.
  13. ^ Flaherty, Nick (May 16, 2022). "Management shakeup at Arrow Electronics". EE Times. Retrieved May 16, 2022.
  14. ^ Dutta, Vishal (2018). "Arrow Electronics to buy eInfochips for Rs 1,800 crore". The Economic Times. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  15. ^ "Arrow Electronics Signs Definitive Agreement to Acquire the Technical and Electronics Media Portfolio of UBM". Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  16. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: Distribution Central acquired as Arrow targets Aussie channel". ARN. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  17. ^ "Arrow Electronics Completes Acquisition of immixGroup". Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  18. ^ "Arrow Electronics Acquires ATM Electronic Corp". Retrieved July 12, 2018.

External links[edit]