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Consumer Electronics Association executive Todd Thibodeaux will take over in July as president and CEO of IT trade association CompTIA, according to organization officials.

Thibodeaux will take over on July 1 for outgoing CEO John Venator. Venator had planned to step down in 2009, but recently moved up his retirement to care for his elderly parents, a Computing Technology Industry Association spokesperson said. Venator will remain president and CEO of CompTIA’s charitable Educational Foundation outreach program through August 2010.

Thibodeaux has been with CEA, the organization behind the mammoth annual International Consumer Electronics Show, since 1990. As senior vice president of industry relations at CEA, Thibodeaux oversaw that organization’s growth to more than 2,200 members and 150 employees.

Todd Thibodeaux

Prior to CEA, Thibodeaux worked in the Office of Regulatory Analysis at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, in Washington.

A self professed IT geek his entire life, Thibodeaux tells Channel Insider he was attracted to the CompTIA position “because of the 10- to 15-fold increase in complexity of distribution and challenges that you face with the channel as opposed to the consumer electronics space.”

Thibodeaux continued, “CompTIA is such a vital part of the IT channel, and as technology associations go in terms of resources and capability, it’s second to none. What we’re trying to do is help companies climb the pyramid. You have companies coming in at the bottom starting out. We’re here to make sure they are climbing up; from new entrants to survivors to market makers to success stories.”

Part of that effort, Thibodeaux says, involves spreading the message among high school and college students that there are great careers in IT today. “We’re going to see hundreds of thousands of people retiring in the next few years with skill sets that need to be replaced,” he says. “There’s still a great opportunity in this space. Stay on the IT track.”

Trained as an economist and research analyst, Thibodeaux says he built much of CEA’s research program and is looking to bolster research efforts at CompTIA as well. “Beyond lobbying, research is among the top benefits that members expect from our organization. I’d like to see us grow our in-house research capabilities and we’ll also explore a number of partnerships in order to step up our efforts.”

Thibodeaux was also responsible for a number of the new media efforts at CEA and says he hopes to bring the same Web 2.0 capabilities to CompTIA in the form of social networks and blogs.

Even in a sluggish economy, Thibodeaux says he feels strongly about the role organizations like CompTIA can play in promoting the interests of the technology industry.

“I always feel like technology is the driving force behind the global economy,” he says. “[Look at] what it can do in terms of enhancing quality of life, lowering prices, improving efficiency. People look to technologies to solve their problems. Look at health care, education. There are so many untapped areas.”