3Com Channel Chief Phased Out


Nick Tidd, 3Com's vice president of worldwide channels, will serve his last day as the Marlborough, Mass.-based networking vendor's channel chief as the company shifts its strategy to focus more on a regionalized channel model.

Tidd, who served as 3Com's channel chief for more than two years, joined 3Com in 1997 during as part of its acquisition of U.S. Robotics. He spent five years running 3Com's North American channels.

"3Com has made a decision that they need to be closer to their customers," Tidd said in an interview Monday, adding that 3Com will focus more on "direct touch" and "regional channel programs" going forward.

Essentially, Tidd and his team were phased out by the new approach and their positions were eliminated.

Frank Kobuszewski, vice president of the technology solutions group at Syracuse, N.Y.-based solution provider CXtec, said he had forged a strong partnership with Tidd and 3Com during Tidd's tenure as head of the channel. He said he's upset to see Tidd go, and also concerned with how his departure and 3Com's restructuring of the channel will affect his company.

"We're not regionalized, so I'm very interested to see what the plan is for the future," he said. "[Tidd] did a hell of a job putting together programs that were successful and changing the ones that weren't."

Kobuszewski said CXtec is a unique type of partner and Tidd embraced the fact that it was different. He said Tidd and his team offered an unmatched level of support.
"We formed a really good partnership," he said. "It's certainly going to be interesting to see what happens next."

Tidd, however, said he's looking forward to taking a short break from the hustle and bustle of being a worldwide channel chief. He said he'll take time to spend with his family and maybe hit Miami where a family member has a 48-foot speedboat, a radical change of pace from the constant travel and meetings he faced in his vice president role.

But Tidd will not rest long. He said he is working with two start-ups to help them build out their channel programs, a move that will help him get back into the entrepreneurial spirit.

Tidd said he is on the board with Cymphonix, a Sandy, Utah-based unified threat management vendor; and is an advisory board member for Warterloo, Ontario-based Bayalink Solutions, maker of a BlackBerry virtualization solution.

"Both of the startups are looking to build out their channel capabilities," he said.

Tidd said he'll use what he's learned at 3Com to help the pair of startups succeed.

"It was a great experience to listen to partners, get to know partners and take that worldwide," he said, adding he's proud of his involvement with 3Com's relationship with China-based Huawei Technologies, which he helped create.

"When I came onto the U.S. stage, I was an unknown," he said. "And I really prided myself on the program we built."

Tidd added that he hasn't quite decided what other paths he'll take as he works with Bayalink and Cymphonix, but noted he doesn't feel pressured to jump into a new role too soon.

"I do need to take a rest," he said.