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Jim Kleeman, who for two years led Avnet’s Hewlett-Packard Business Unit, announced Feb. 22 his departure from the distribution giant.

During his tenure as vice president and general manager of Avnet Partner Solutions’ HP Business Unit, Kleeman oversaw tremendous growth of the unit—17 percent quarter over quarter in 2005 —as both Avnet and HP worked toward a goal of $1 billion in annual sales by 2008, said Fred Cuen, President of Avnet’s Technology Solutions Group.

The unit sold about $660 million of HP business last year.

Among hallmarks of Kleeman’s tenure was the extension in December of APS’s Market Connection program to team ISVs with HP VARs in vertical and geographic markets to promote a more complete and integrated software and hardware solution.

Avnet sells HP business to UK firm. Click here to read more.

Kleeman, who previously founded and ran Vector Technology, one of HP’s largest resellers, brought a VAR market sense and entrepreneurial spirit to Avnet’s HP venture, Cuen said.

“He had a real spirit for growth,” Cuen said. “He was good at bringing in new ideas and making sure we had the right people and structure to execute.”

The people and processes Kleeman established will continue in his absence, Quinn said.

Avnet is reviewing several internal and external candidates, with Kleeman’s assistance, and expects to have a replacement by April 3.

Kleeman would not disclose his next step, but told co-workers he is looking into his own business and has reached out to a venture capital firm for financing.

Kleeman’s announcement follows the resignation three weeks ago of Steve Tepedino as co-president of Avnet Technology Solutions, a title he had shared with Cuen.