Zebra Technologies Europe Limited, a global leader in on-demand printing solutions for business improvement, has further demonstrated its commitment to the growth of its EMEA sales team and partner support, with the appointment of industry heavyweight Ashley Ford as sales director.

Ford has been appointed to the board and will report directly to EMEA managing director Rod Rodericks. Taking responsibility for all sales activity, Ford will drive the printing hardware and supplies business. He will be setting ambitious growth targets that he intends to achieve through his management of Zebra's reseller community.

Ford has a wealth of sales management experience gained at AST Computers, Xerox and more recently Samsung, where he worked in the IT products division. Having managed both direct and indirect sales teams across Europe, Ford is well versed in implementing channel programmes and establishing new routes to market. Zebra's impressive channel framework provides Ford with a strong base on which to build.

Ford will spearhead Zebra's two pronged growth strategy: to widen its regional markets and strengthen vertical sales.

Zebra is expanding and reinforcing its EMEA presence, adding to its network of regional offices with sales and business development managers in nine territories, which cover: UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Benelux, The Nordics, Eastern Europe and The Middle East, Africa and India. Ford's focus will be to develop Zebra's established markets, driving further revenues from innovations in Auto ID and to continue to grow new markets and regions. One of Ford's first initiatives will be to open a new office in Eastern Europe.

Zebra has also successfully transitioned to a vertical sales strategy, targeting sectors such as government, retail, and manufacturing/logistics. Ford intends to consolidate Zebra's position in these and to drive growth in new markets such as field force automation.

Commenting on his appointment Ford said, "Zebra achieved over 20% growth in 2004, and it was the challenge of building on this success that attracted me to the role. This is an exciting time for Zebra. The company is moving beyond its traditional barcoding marketplace, to embrace new technologies such as RFID, mobile printing and a whole host of on-demand applications. This opens up a raft of opportunities for increased sales and I am keen to maximise their potential for Zebra."

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