Hall of Fame: Tim Baxter : On Solid Ground
Tim Baxter, President of Samsung Electronics AmericaJanuary 15, 2014 By Jeff O'Heir
Tim Baxter remembers one night way back when his father Jerry picked him up from his part-time job as busboy at the Harbor Restaurant in Parsippany, N.J. Jerry noticed the toll the long day had taken on his son.
“Well, you have two choices,” he said, as the two talked about the future. “You can choose to either work with your hands or work with your head. But remember, if you work with your hands you have to have a really good skill.”
And if you work with your head, Jerry taught his son over the years, you have to be able to connect with people and be willing to laugh at yourself. Most important, he said, you have to be humble.
In a way, Baxter chose both paths and, along the way, has developed the skills that have elevated him to the top of the CE industry.
As president of Samsung Electronics America, Baxter is known to get his hands dirty, working alongside retailers on their sales floors on Thanksgiving, personally taking their calls to help smooth rough patches or pave the way for future growth, and collaborating with them to optimize current sales and profitability. And that’s not just with the big-box nationals. He gives equal or, in some cases, more time to the independent and regional dealers that help fuel to Samsung’s growth engine.
He is also known as one of the more thoughtful executives in the CE industry, as effective at helping a retailer forecast sales, choose the right product mix and articulate a clear vision of Samsung’s goals as he is in in lending a hand to harried sales associates trying to juggle orders on a busy holiday shopping day.
“You always try to measure any executive with the level of execution of the company they represent. Samsung is one of the best out there in the terms of how they execute, and Tim is a reflection of that. He’s one of the most approachable executives in the industry,” said Dave Workman, executive director of the PRO Group. “When you’re managing a ship as large as Samsung, some executives can become a little removed. But with Tim, if you ask any dealer they’d say they know him and can call him whenever they want. Tim has solid view of the market and a balanced view of how dealers and Samsung can work together. He possesses incredible vision and exceptionally strong management skills.”