30 Major Channel Chief Changes In 201211:00 AM EST Tue. Aug. 21, 2012
It's been an action-packed year for notable IT executive moves of all stripes, from CEOs on down. But there's been an especially frequent pace of change among channel chiefs and other executives well-known as channel advocates. Here's a look at some of the bigger channel chief moves in 2012 so far.
Keith Goodwin, who retired as senior vice president of Cisco's worldwide partner organization at the end of July, is a rarity in the industry: a channel chief who, over a seven-year tenure, had the role for the better part of a decade. The Cisco channel reins now go to Bruce Klein, most recently Cisco's senior vice president, U.S. public sector theater.
IBM has had a few key changes to its channel ranks this year, including Rich Hume's transition out of the channel chief role and into a new role managing IBM's European operations, and the move by Mark Hennessy, former IBM CIO, into the general manager, IBM global business partner slot. Those shifts happened at the beginning of the year, shortly after Virginia Rometty succeeded Sam Palmisano as IBM CEO.
After eight years as the face of Symantec's partner program, Randy Cochran resigned as vice president, channel sales, Americas in March. Symantec indicated at the time that Cochran's exit was to "pursue other opportunities," though Cochran has as of press time yet to resurface in a new role. John Eldh officially succeeded Cochran on April 1 heading up Symantec's enterprise channel strategy and partner programs.
Among a wave of changes to Hewlett-Packard's corporate leadership structure, several of its well-known channel faces are either in new roles or have left the company for presumably greener pastures. In the latter category is Frank Rauch, who exited HP in June and was named vice president, Americas partners organization at VMware soon after.
The revolving door of executive leadership at Avaya claimed some of the company's well-known channel faces, including Jeremy Butt, who left his role as vice president, worldwide channels at Avaya in January. Butt is now EMEA executive vice president at distributor Westcon Group. His role at Avaya wasn't filled; the worldwide channel chief function now rolls up to Butt's former boss, Tom Mitchell, senior vice president and president, Avaya Go To Market.
Tom LaRocca was well known as a key architect of HP's PartnerOne program, but at the beginning of 2012, he departed HP after 12 years to become vice president, worldwide product strategy and alliances at Oracle. The path from HP to Oracle is well-trod, with former HP CEO and now Oracle Co-President Mark Hurd perhaps the most famous example.
Another face in the slew of channel chief exits in January was Alex Thurber, who left his post as senior vice president of McAfee's worldwide channel operations to become vice president of sales at Tripwire. Succeeding Thurber at McAfee was Gavin Struthers, who in several interviews since has played up the partner services opportunity around McAfee.
Well-known channel presence Nick Tidd was among a wave of executive exits from D-Link North America, where he was president up until last December. Earlier this year, Tidd turned up at Condusiv, formerly Diskeeper, in a consulting role. Soon after, he was named senior vice president, global sales, and part of his charter is oversight of the company's channel strategy.
Chris Doggett knows the security territory pretty darn well, having been channel chief at Sophos up until fall 2010. In March of this year, he was hired at Kaspersky Lab as vice president of channel sales.
Mike Parrottino's moved around a bunch at HP in the past year, and during HP's most recent channel executive shuffle, he took over the role heading up U.S. SMB channel sales, a role that was originally assigned to ...
Scott Dunsire, who instead got the role Parrottino was originally tapped for, vice president and general manager of HP Printing and Personal Systems Group (PPS) U.S. channel sales.
Meanwhile, the HP shuffle also shifted Stephen DiFranco, who's had a couple of titles since joining HP in 2010. As of June, DiFranco took on a new Americas channel role in the HP Enterprise Group overseeing how distributors, VARs, systems integrators, ISVs, OEMs and Cloud Agile teams work in concert for HP's overall channel approach.
Still more HP excitement: Kevin Hooper, a well-known channel advocate and HP sales vice president, took on a new role in February as vice president, HP Networking sales.
Meanwhile, over at HP rival Cisco, there have been several more channel executive changes beyond the transition from Keith Goodwin to Bruce Klein. Sherriff, most recently senior vice president of Cisco's Americas partner organization, was promoted to a new position heading up the sales piece of Cisco's companywide Accelerated Cisco Transformation (ACT) project ...
... while Wendy Bahr, most recently Cisco senior vice president, global and transformational partnerships, took over Sherriff's Americas channel chief role. Bahr actually held that position before transitioning to the global accounts role in 2010, though at the time it did not include Latin America partners.
Still more HP moving and shaking: Meaghan Kelly, former vice president of channel strategy at HP and a well-known advocate for SMB-focused partners, left the technology giant in June to become vice president, global channel marketing at SAP.
Solution providers agreed that Bob Bruce, who exited Aruba as vice president, channel sales this month, left the Aruba channel program better than when he found it. Now charged with the further growth and expansion of that program is ex-Blue Coat worldwide channel boss Jim Harold, who officially assumes the Aruba role on Aug. 23.
Speaking of Blue Coat, it's lost a few channel talents in the past year during an extended period of restructuring, a CEO change, and a private equity buyout. Harold was gone as of August 2011, and in May of this year, Laurie Usewicz, vice president of Americas channel sales, also departed.
Joe Vitalone left ShoreTel for the top Americas sales job at LifeSize in 2009, but in May of this year he returned to ShoreTel as vice president, channel management, part of a series of key hires and management reassignments made by the UC vendor. In his previous stint at ShoreTel, Vitalone had been a company officer and vice president, North American sales, and had those roles during ShoreTel's 2007 IPO.
Among several executive changes confirmed by Brocade in recent months was the re-assignment of Barbara Spicek, most recently Brocade's worldwide channel chief, to a new role running Brocade's EMEA OEM business unit. Now heading channels is Regan McGrath, who is vice president, global channel sales and marketing following a run as vice president, Americas sales at the SAN specialisst.
Windstream's streak of acquisitions, including its 2011 pickup of Paetec, meant layoffs were in the offing. It's made several rounds of cuts since the beginning of the year, and in June parted ways with Dan Sterling, vice president of dealer sales. Windstream channel chief responsibilities now come under Jeff Howe, president of Windstream's central region.
Scrappy Extreme Networks is on the rebound after several years of difficult restructuring and strategic refocusing, and as of April, it has a new channel chief in the driver's seat. That's Theresa Caragol, vice president, worldwide channels, who brought with her nearly two decades of IT channel and distribution experience, most recently at Ciena.
Nigel Williams is a known quantity in the channel thanks to years spent in channel management roles at Cisco and, later, Level 3 Communications. He brings that reputation to Ciena, where as of July he is vice president, global channels and strategic alliances.
Jeffrey Pearl in June became senior vice president of sales at MegaPath, giving him control of MegaPath's sales management and its direct, indirect and field sales operations. Pearl replaced Chris Gellos, who left the company earlier that month and later turned up at Broadvox.
EarthLink in June snagged Thomas Hobika as vice president of IT solutions consultants, where he'll apply his 18 years of channel experience to organize one of EarthLink's most important channel constituencies. Hobika was most recently with XO Communications, where he was vice president, business development, complex solutions, sales engineering and program management in the carrier and enterprise services division.
There's no upstart hotter company in the wireless space than Ruckus Wireless, which as of the early summer was adding new solution providers at a clip of about 600 a quarter. New to its executive team to help corral that community is David Zimmer, who became senior director, worldwide channels in April. Zimmer's a highly regarded channel manager, having done stints as senior director, North America channel sales for Huawei Symantec and senior director, worldwide channel sales and marketing for QLogic, among others.
Gary Abad's had a number of channel chief roles in major networking and data center companies over the past decade; his resume includes vice president-level channel executive stints at Polycom, F5 Networks and Kaspersky Lab, and that's just since 2008. In early 2012, he signed on as vice president, global channels at Meru Networks, overseeing Meru's nearly 1,000 worldwide partners in a hypercompetitive wireless LAN market.
Exits from Juniper's channel executive ranks are rare, so Blaine Raddon's departure in March -- he's now general manager, Americas at data backup and recovery specialist Acronis -- raised a few eyebrows. Juniper's channel bench strength proved its worth however, and David Bankemper, Raddon's successor as vice president, Americas partner sales, hasn't missed a beat, according to partners.
There's been a lot of movement lately among major channel executives at well-known video and UC companies. That included Dan Sibille, who left his role as Polycom's vice president, North America channels this past spring after less than six months in the role.
Telecom partners knew Shelby well for channel chief stints at Masergy, McleodUSA and Allegiance Telecom. In June, Shelby took on the top channel job at Thinking Phone Networks, an emerging hosted UC player with a healthy buzz.