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Steven A. Raymund, Tech Data Corporation’s CEO of more than 19 years, announced this week that he is stepping down.

Raymund remains chairman of the board of directors and an executive search committee is already hunting for a new CEO, sources at the IT distributor said.

Statements from the company billed the shuffle as a means to expand talent at the top of the company, but sources close to the company indicate Raymund wished to relinquish some of the responsibility for running the nearly $20-billion-a-year company.

The separation of powers would make room for one more executive and fulfill rising needs such as compliance and planning, sources said.

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The shuffle allows Tech Data to “improve such areas as corporate governance, strategic planning and operational analysis,” said Chuck Miller, a company spokesman.

Raymund will continue in both positions until a new CEO is identified.

Far from a sign of decline, Raymund’s departure at this time should be seen as an indication of confidence, said Brian G. Alexander, an IT distribution analyst at Raymond James and Associates, a research firm.

“I think this is a sign that things are going well. I don’t think he would have stepped aside otherwise,” Alexander said. “He has been there 25 years and I just think he felt like it was a good time to back off a little.

“This basically instills more confidence that the moves they are making in Europe are the right ones, because he wouldn’t have left it otherwise.”

The company has been fighting off recent declines in the European market that have affected IT distributors across the board.

The 50-year-old chairman and CEO, is the son of Edward Raymund, who founded Tech Data in 1974.

He joined the Clearwater, Fla.- based company in 1981 as Operations Manager and became CEO in 1986. He became chairman of the board in 1991, when his father retired.

During his tenure at Tech Data, he oversaw the company’s growth from a few million dollars of business annually to its present state. The company expects to do $19.8 billion in net sales this year.

The search for a new CEO is being conducted by the Governance and Nominating Committee of the board of directors, which has called on the expertise of Russell Reynolds Associates, an executive search firm.