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Avnet, Inc.
S&P 400 Component
Founded1921; 98 years ago (1921)
New York City, New York, U.S.
FounderCharles Avnet
HeadquartersPhoenix, Arizona, U.S.
Key people
William Amelio, CEO [1]
William H. Schumann, III, Executive Chairman
Tom Liguori CFO
RevenueDecreaseUS$17.4 billion (2017)[2]
DecreaseUS$461 million (2017)[2]
IncreaseUS$263 million (2017)[2]
Total assetsDecreaseUS$9.7 billion (2017)[2]
Total equityIncreaseUS$5.2 billion (2016)[2]
Number of employees
15,700 (2017)[3]

Avnet, Inc. is one of the world's largest distributors of electronic components and embedded solutions and is headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona. Although the corporation's products have been an important part of computer networking, the corporate name is neither an acronym nor a coined word, and dates from nearly a century ago, when it was founded by Charles Avnet in 1921. After its start on Manhattan's Radio Row, the company became incorporated in 1955 and began trading on the New York Stock Exchange in 1961. On May 8, 2018 Avnet officially changed stock markets to Nasdaq,[4] trading under the same ticker, $AVT. Avnet currently ranks #128[5] on the Fortune 500 and #414[6] on the Fortune Global 500, reporting FY 2017 revenues of $22.87 billion.[7]

Avnet has purchased a number of companies to broaden their reach in ecosystem services including Hackster.io, Dragon Innovation, and UK based Premier Farnell.[8]


1920s - Founding[edit]

In 1921, Charles Avnet, a 33-year-old Russian-Jewish immigrant, began buying surplus radio parts and selling them to the public on the Radio Rows of United States port cities. As radio manufacturing grew, parts distribution took off. In the mid-1920s, when factory-made radios began to replace radio parts, he adjusted his distribution pipeline and began selling parts to manufacturers and dealers. In the mid-1920s, Avnet diversified by branching out into car radio kits and automobile assembly kits. During the Great Depression, he shifted the focus from retailing to wholesaling.[9]

1930s–1940s - Role in World War II[edit]

During World War II, Avnet made antennas for the U.S. armed forces. Charles's son, Lester, joined the business at that time.[10] After the war was over, Avnet focused on buying and selling surplus electronic and electrical parts.

1950s – Incorporation as Avnet Electronic Supply Co.[edit]

Avnet's business thrived during the 1950s Korean War and launch of the U.S. space program, as Charles, along with his sons Lester and Robert, assembled electric connectors for missile systems, airplanes, and other military applications. In 1955, Avnet Electronic Supply Company was incorporated with a primary business of selling capacitors, fasteners and switches. In 1956, the corporation opened a second connector assembly plant near Los Angeles specifically for the aircraft industry. Three years after it incorporated, the company changed its name to Avnet Electronics Corporation, and went public on the American Stock Exchange the following year.[11]

1960s - Moving into consumer electronics via acquisition[edit]

In 1960, Avnet made its first acquisition, British Industries Corp., an audio equipment company. With this acquisition, it began selling die casting machines, guitars, and television antennas, and earned a spot trading on the New York Stock Exchange. In the mid-1960s, the company briefly owned several record labels including Liberty Records and Blue Note.[12] Avnet also acquired guitar manufacturer Guild Musical Instruments in 1965, where a Guild Starfire 12 guitar was presented to Beatles legends John Lennon and George Harrison.[13]

Over the course of the decade, Avnet expanded with several acquisitions:

  • Hamilton Electro Corporation in 1962
  • Fairmount Motor Products Co, Inc. in 1963
  • Valley Forge Products, Inc. in 1964
  • Guarantee Generator & Armature Co. in 1965
  • Channel Master Corporation in 1967
  • Brownell Inc., Carol Wire and Cable Corporation, and Machiz's Time Electronic Sales in 1968[11]

These acquisitions expanded the company into the new fields of semiconductors, relays, and potentiometers.[9] In 1964, the company renamed itself again as Avnet, Incorporated. Founder Charles Avnet died that same year, and his son Lester became president and chairman.

1970s - Investment in computing technology[edit]

In 1973, Avnet became Intel Corp.'s first distributor, solidifying Avnet's place in the computer business. Together, Avnet and supplier Intel began selling computer peripherals, complete systems, and software. In 1979, Avnet hit $1 billion in revenue for the first time.

In 1979, Lester Avnet died [14] and was succeeded by Simon Sheib as chief executive officer. Sheib, along with Anthony Hamilton, president of the Hamilton Electro Corporation acquisition, combined the two companies to form Hamilton/Avnet, which eventually became Avnet Electronic Marketing Group, led by Hamilton. The combine shifted its strategy during this time to focus on sales, warehouse and stocking facilities, product development, and expanding markets, and became the first distributor of semiconductors, integrated circuits, and microprocessors.[11]

1980's–1990s - Geographical and leadership changes[edit]

Under the leadership of CEO Tony Hamilton, Avnet grew its computer lines business by purchasing Sertech and FMI in the custom chip and microcircuitry business. The 1980s also saw the creation of the Avnet Development Laboratories to prefect new satellite and cable television equipment. Hamilton led Avnet until his death in 1988, when he was succeeded by Leon Machiz, founder of acquisition Life Electronics Sales.

By 1993, Avnet had streamlined more than 100 storage facilities into just three warehouses. Inventory and purchasing in these warehouses were computer-controlled. At the time the largest distributor in the country, Avnet then acquired the third largest distributor, Hall-Mark Electronics Corporation, for $344.6 million. With this acquisition, Hamilton/Avnet combined with Hall-Mark to form Hamilton Hallmark. Avnet's computer business gained new suppliers at this time, including Hewlett-Packard, Digital Equipment, NCR, Seagate, and Okidata. The acquisition also made Avnet the only U.S. distributor to carry all of the top five American semiconductor lines.

In the early 1990s after pressure from suppliers and customers, Avnet acquired four European distributors to mark its first global expansion: F.H. Tec Composants of France, Nortec AB of Scandinavia, Access Group of Great Britain, and Electronic 2000 AG of Germany.

In 1998, Roy Vallee entered as CEO and chairman,[15] the same year that the company relocated its corporate headquarters to Phoenix (from Great Neck, NY). Under Vallee's tenure, Avnet acquired more than 60 companies and grew globally. Avnet launched their first global warehouse in 1999, where customers around the world could track their order status.

2000s - Accelerating Your Success[edit]

Avnet operated under the slogan "Accelerating Your Success" during the 2000s

2010s - Reach Further: New focus on IoT, startup growth, and route-to-market vision[edit]

In July 2010, the company purchased Bell Microelectronics for $631 million, at the time the largest acquisition in the company's history.[16] In July 2011, CEO Roy Vallee retired, and then-COO Richard Hamada was appointed CEO.

In March 2012 Avnet, Inc. acquired Ascendant Technologies and in October 2012, BrightStar Partners, Inc. and BSP Software LLC. This was done to expand Avnet Technology Solutions.

In Sept 2016, Tech Data purchased Avnet's Technology Solutions for $2.6B. In October 2016, the company purchased Premier Farnell for £691M. [17]

Industry analysts at eStoreInfo say the key to Avnet's long-term success is its supply chain management solutions, which include forecasting component demand, distribution management, Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) and Just in Time delivery.[18]

CEO leaders since the 1970s for Avnet have included Tony Hamilton, Leon Machiz, Roy Vallee, Rick Hamada and William Amelio[19](current).

In September 2016, Tech Data Corporation announced that it had entered into an agreement to acquire the Technology Solutions operating group from Avnet, Inc. in a stock and cash transaction valued at approximately US$2.6 billion. Under the terms of the agreement, Avnet received at closing approximately $2.4 billion in cash and 2.785 million shares of Tech Data common stock, representing an approximate 7 percent ownership position in Tech Data.[20]

In March 2019, Avnet announced that it was working with blockchain payment provider BitPay to accept cryptocurrency as payment for products and services in order to offer its customers more convenient ways of completing their financial transactions.[21] Avnet’s vice-president of demand creation, Sunny Trinh, said "whether it’s Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash, we can handle it.” Avnet stated that it had already closed "several multi-million dollar cryptocurrency transactions” in the first month of accepting Bitcoin.[22]


Company awards[edit]

  • Fortune Magazine "Most Admired Company" (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017)[23]
  • Ethisphere "World's Most Ethical Company" (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017)[24]
  • InformationWeek "Elite 100" (2014, 2015, 2016)[25]
  • EDN "Hot 100 Products" (2016)[26]
  • Vishay "Semiconductor Distributor of the Year" (2016)[27]
  • Broadcom "Executive Broadline Distributor of the Year in the Americas and EMEA" (2016)[28]
  • Arizona Governor's Celebration of Innovation "Large Company Innovator of the Year" (2016)
  • Celestica "Total Cost of Ownership Supplier Award" (2015)
  • CIO Magazine "CIO 100 Award" (2015)
  • Supply and Demand Chain "Executive 100" (2015)
  • Supply Chain "Top 10: High Tech" (2015)

Individual awards[edit]

  • Sean Valcamp - 2017 ComputerWorld Premier 100 Technology Leader
  • Gerrit de Haas and Yael Shloush - 2016 Supply and Demand Chain Executive Pros to Know
  • Beth McMullen - 2016 Phoenix Business Journal Outstanding Women in Business Award
  • Christian Goehring - 2016 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Star
  • David Paulson and Bob Brenner - 2015 Supply and Demand Chain Executive Pros to Know
  • Terry Cain - 2015 Customer-centric Leader
  • Steve Phillips - 2015 CIO Magazine's CIO Hall of Fame

Leadership history[edit]

Chief Executive Officer leaders since the 1970s for Avnet have included:

  • Tony Hamilton
  • Leon Machiz
  • Roy Vallee
  • Rick Hamada
  • William Amelio[19]


  1. ^ HUFFORD, AUSTEN. "Avnet Removes Interim Status for Its CEO". Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e wikinvest:stock/Avnet (AVT)/Filing/10-K/2017/10-K/D23996013
  3. ^ "Avnet Form 10-K 2017". Wikinvest.
  4. ^ "Avnet to switch markets, be listed on the Nasdaq". bizjournals.com. Retrieved 2018-06-04.
  5. ^ "Fortune 500". Fortune.com.
  6. ^ "Fortune Global 500 2017: These Are the Companies Shaping the World". Fortune. July 20, 2017.
  7. ^ "Avnet". Fortune. Retrieved 2018-11-15.
  8. ^ "Avnet - Acquisitions | Crunchbase". Crunchbase. Retrieved 2018-06-04.
  9. ^ a b "Charles Avnet and the Golden Age of Radio" (PDF). Avnet. Retrieved 2007-12-14.
  10. ^ "Avnet's History --Family beginnings". Avnet. Retrieved 2007-12-14.
  11. ^ a b c "History of Avnet Inc. – FundingUniverse". fundinguniverse.com. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  12. ^ "Liberty Records". Archived from the original on 2 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-22.
  13. ^ Novinson, Michael (2015-04-02). "Behind The Scenes: A Look Inside Avnet's Global Solutions Center". CRN. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  14. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/1979/12/26/archives/obituary-1-no-title.html
  15. ^ "Stocks". Bloomberg.com. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  16. ^ "Avnet buys Bell Microproducts for $631 million". Arizona Business and Money. 2010-07-07. Retrieved 2015-09-02.
  17. ^ "Premier Farnell Acquisition". Premier Farnell. Retrieved 2017-02-13.
  18. ^ Greenberg, Barry (April 1, 2007). "Avnet Logistics: Teaming up" (– [1]). Electronics Supply & Manufacturing.[permanent dead link]
  19. ^ a b Novinson, Michael. "Avnet Changes CEOs: Hamada Out, Ex-Lenovo CEO To Fill In On Interim Basis". CRN. The Channel Company. Retrieved 11 July 2016.
  21. ^ "Avnet Now Accepts Cryptocurrency Payments". Avnet.com. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  22. ^ "Avnet Leads Industry by Accepting Cryptocurrency". Avnet.com. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  23. ^ "Avnet Named to FORTUNE Magazine's "Most Admired Companies" - New York Times". markets.on.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  24. ^ "Honorees". Ethisphere® Institute | Good. Smart. Business. Profit.®. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  25. ^ "Avnet Named to the InformationWeek Elite 100 for the Third Consecutive Year". businesswire.com. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  26. ^ staff, EDN. "EDN Hot 100 products of 2016". EDN. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  27. ^ "Avnet Receives Semiconductor Distributor of the Year Award From Vishay". Arizona Daily Star. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  28. ^ "Broadcom Selects Avnet as Its Exclusive Broadline Distributor | Electronics360". electronics360.globalspec.com. Retrieved 2017-04-03.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°25′39″N 111°58′47″W / 33.42750°N 111.97972°W / 33.42750; -111.97972

  1. ^ Avnet's $911 million offer for Premier Farnell tops Daetwyler's bid