Reflecting on my Career with Schneider Electric as I Begin a New Chapter

02 January, 2020
Dave Johnson
Schneider Electric

My journey with APC and Schneider Electric began three decades ago.  I can still remember it clearly. I was working at GE and got a call from my college friend who said, “why don’t you come work at this strange little start-up called American Power Conversion?” I was young and single and responded, “why not, let’s give this a try.” So, I joined the company in 1989. I stayed with APC for 10 years and then left to work with start-ups for a few years. I returned to APC in early 2003 where I’ve remained for the last 17 years. After a total of 27 years with the company and nearly four years leading our division, I’ve made the decision to step down as Executive Vice President of the Secure Power Division of Schneider Electric.

A legacy of legendary reliability and innovation

As I look back on everything we’ve accomplished at APC and Schneider Electric, I’m proud of what we have built and what we have done. We have taken advantage of major market disruptions several times in our history to deliver innovative and top-quality solutions for our customers.

First, in the 1980’s we responded to the rapid rise of PCs and local area networks with innovative and even controversial solutions. We developed simple but smart plug-and-play uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems, added software, and followed the go-to-market model of IT vendors selling servers, storage, and switches.  That is, we sold through IT distributors and resellers. Our products were super-reliable. We also built a marketing machine to support our efforts and with all that built the brand we know today as APC.

Later, the boom opened the door for us to introduce the market-changing InfraStruXure solutions, providing customers with fully integrated system including UPS’s, racks, cooling, power distribution, and management software. At first, our competitors laughed at InfraStruXure. Then they all followed and made versions of their own.

Today, with the explosion in IoT and connected devices, Schneider Electric continues to lead the charge in solutions for the Edge with our EcoStruxureTM architecture encompassing connected products, edge control and apps, analytics & services. This steady rise of IoT and the large amounts of data being generated by consumer and business applications is giving us another major opportunity to deliver disruptive and innovative solutions.

As I think about all the market disruptions and our responses over the years, I’m reminded of one of the philosophies that I’ve consistently subscribed to: “give customers what they need, not what they’re asking for. Do it in a unique way – maybe one they haven’t thought of before.” As I prepare to leave Schneider Electric, I know the company will remain committed to helping our customers find innovative solutions to their challenges.

data centerConfidence in the future

I congratulate Pankaj Sharma on his appointment to lead the Secure Power Division of Schneider Electric. I am confident that Pankaj’s dedication to our customers and employees, his commitment to operate with a growth mindset, and his passion for innovation, diversity, and sustainability will serve him well in the years to come.

Pankaj has been with the Secure Power business for the last 19 years and has been a part of my leadership team as Senior Vice President, Home & Business Networks for the last 3.5 years. During this time, I’ve seen Pankaj’s strong commitment to act like an owner first-hand. He introduced a robust business strategy, drove strong and consistent innovations in the single-phase UPS market, and built the best team to lead our entry into new geographies.

A strong transition to ensure continuity for our customers and employees

Although my entry into the company all those years ago was rather abrupt, I’m happy to report my exit from the organization will be much more thoughtful to ensure a seamless transition for our customers and employees. Pankaj and I will work closely throughout 2020 to drive continuity of the business and minimize disruptions. Following the transition, I look forward to pursuing some of my personal interests and spending more time with my family.

In closing, I’d like to thank all the customers, partners, employees, and friends who have helped to positively shape the last 27 years of my career. It has been an honor and a privilege to contribute to and lead in this industry. I’m grateful for the strong ties and fond memories created over these last few decades. I look forward to our paths crossing again.

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