Cisco partners on Thursday said that Cisco's choice to change the roles of three of its most visible channel executives wasn't something they saw coming, but shouldn't be of too big a concern for the channel.
Cisco confirmed the executive changes via a Thursday blog post from Keith Goodwin, senior vice president, worldwide partner organization. In a nutshell, Cisco's Edison Peres will take over for Goodwin as the day-to-day face of worldwide channel operations; Wendy Bahr will exit her post as U.S. and Canada channel chief to oversee Cisco's global and transformational accounts across various geographies and vertical markets; and Dave O'Callaghan will move from distribution boss to heading up the growth of Cisco's SMB and commercial business.
A Cisco spokesman told CRN that the changes are effective Aug. 1, the first day of Cisco's fiscal 2011, and that Cisco would focus on internal candidates to replace Bahr and O'Callaghan, with potential external candidates up for consideration, too.
Neither Goodwin nor any of his lieutenants was available for additional comment Thursday afternoon.
Kent MacDonald, vice president, network services of Long View Systems, a Calgary solution provider, said that the moves showed Cisco is taking partner suggestions to heart.
"I think they're looking at some of the challenges partners are having from a worldwide go-to-market strategy," MacDonald said. "Cisco's saying: we need to help the markets work better on a global level, and I appreciate that Cisco is addressing that there are challenges there.
MacDonald said Bahr had contacted the members of Cisco's partner executive board to inform them of the change.
"Having Wendy in that role will make a big difference." he said. "She'll certainly be missed, but I'm wishing her all the success in the world."
Robert Betzel, president of Infinity Network Solutions, a Macon, Ga.-based solution provider, said that as long as the changes didn't disrupt the channel organizations down to the account representative level, the transition should be smooth.
"With any large organization, it's inevitable that they move talent around," Betzel said. "It's when you have executives leave and big changes from the top to the bottom of the organization that leaves you in crisis. We have no way of knowing what's going to happen in this case, but I've never seen a big, top-level Cisco executive change affect us much. I'm reading it right along with you guys."