Johnston takes helm as Simms sets up in NZ

Former Renaissance managing director Paul Johnston is spearheading the establishment of the local business of UK-headquartered distributor Simms International.

Established in the UK in 1990, Simms International opened in Australia in 1995. It distributes Kingston memory products in both regions, and is an authorised distributor for Apple in Australia, says Johnston, who became New Zealand managing director earlier this month.

Its other agencies in Australia include Filemaker, VMware, Western Digital, Bose and Roxio, according to its website.

Johnston says the company is currently in discussions with vendors regarding local representation, and says it could represent “two to three” of the brands it carries across the Tasman. It expects to announce vendor partners in a couple of weeks, he says.

Simms doesn’t intend to represent Apple in New Zealand, says Johnston.

Based in the Auckland suburb of Albany, Simms International’s New Zealand business plans to initially employ five to six staff, including customer services representatives, business development managers and administration staff.

Johnston resigned from distributor Renaissance last year, and will be succeeded by Richard Webb, a former chief executive of global industrial automation specialist Citect and founder of Australian start-up incubator Red Ocean.

Johnston started his new role as Simms' managing director on 4 January, and is a shareholder and board member of Simms’ business in New Zealand.

“I am extremely excited to be involved in the expansion of Simms International into New Zealand. To grow a business from scratch; to build mutually beneficial, long term relationships with vendors and channel partners; and to develop our people are things I am passionate about.”

SImms expects to be operational here by mid February.

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