Tech Renaissance Man
Peter Weedfald Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing Sharp Electronics Marketing Co. of America (SEMCA)
BY NANCY KLOSEK
Dealerscope 2021 Hall of Fame honoree Peter Weedfald of Sharp has what is one of the industry’s most well-rounded and rich consumer technology résumés – a CV replete with major milestones revealing his wide-ranging and profound impact on our industry in the roles of manufacturing, retailing and even publishing. Indeed, he can trace his deep roots in and connection to tech products from his earliest working days, all the way to his present position, where he serves as Sharp Electronics Marketing Co. of America’s Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing.
His first career years were spent in sales at Lanier Business Products, pitching the merits of word processors – the then-newest de facto office tool – door to door in NYC’s West Side high-rise office buildings. It was there, he tells Dealerscope, that he first learned how to adroitly handle sales objections, excelling in a business where personnel turnover averaged 80 percent. “I was blessed to experience that,” Weedfald recalls. And, he says, it primed him for future steps along his career path.
Through the ’90s, he held executive positions at media company Ziff Davis across their print titles, which included PC Magazine, Windows Sources, MacUser, and Computer Shopper. Then he moved into the vendor side of tech, serving as an executive for consumer display company ViewSonic. Thereafter, Samsung – then a nascent U.S. brand presence, called upon Weedfald’s expertise and savvy to help it deepen its foothold in the American market. He served as Samsung’s executive VP of sales, marketing and operations, as well as CMO for Samsung North America from 2001 to 2006, where he led a team that managed CE and home appliance product initiatives.
Following his tenure at Samsung, he took on a role at retailer Circuit City as Senior VP, Chief Marketing Officer, where he led a team of 260 in multiple areas including brand management, research, PR, management of the website, and advertising. And prior to joining Sharp six years ago, he was president of a GE joint venture formed to globally market and support GE HTDVs, and then assumed the mantle of consultant for GE as President of Gen One Ventures, supporting the GE Ventures & Licensing Group.
Teamwork: The Key to Success Weedfald credits the string of successes he has built upon in his CE career with what he characterizes as “the greatest highlight – the people I’ve been fortunate to run with and work with, and who believe in my style of leadership. The art of the possible is only possible if the promise you promulgate to your team can be effectuated. That’s how we build our personal and business brands. I believe in being a team member but also the pilot for the storm, meaning leading from behind, and offering mentorship about how to be successful.” He cites his Sharp colleagues as both inspirational and mentoring to him. Of Jim Sanduski, president of Sharp Home Electronics Co. of America, he says: “He is very strong mentor in the language of leadership and in the dignity of knowledge, and in how to treat people in our company.” Also key guiding influences are the dealers and distributors – partners – he engages with every day, he says.
A Wide Scope of Experience Weedfald’s universe, clearly, encompasses his business accomplishments, but also extends far beyond those. He has been married for 40 years, and his numerous personal interests serve to complete the picture of an impactful CE business executive and person. He says he is most proud of some of the ways he has found to give back to society – namely, having a “heart for the innocent,” through fundraising he’s done for children’s charities. He is author of a book, Green Reign Leadership, that offers executives observations on effective personal leadership, and he donates the sales proceeds to those charities. And he is also an accomplished pianist and composer, having produced and published 150 songs in the cloud and on YouTube. Weedfald crystallized for Dealerscope an overarching philosophy that has carried through a distinguished career to his activities at Sharp. “Sales plus marketing equals W-I-N. Many companies have their sales organizations on one side of the building and their marketing on the other. We work really hard together as a team at Sharp to unite them as one force enveloped together, giving us the unbridled thrill to bring all that expertise and focus on the customer, 360 degrees… and unified.”
Creativity and Relevancy Creativity and relevancy are two aspirational goals that have driven and steered Weedfald all along in business, and he says those can serve dealers just as well moving forward, in today’s challenging circumstances, and in what he terms as “the cold steel of a digital economy.” He expresses confidence that revenue, profit and growth will come “for those who have the will, and who recognize what is needed, from a technology standpoint; they will be huge winners.”
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