D-Link's new channel chief is assuring solution providers that the company's channel growth is a priority, even as behind the scenes D-Link North America executives and staff continue to head for the exits.
Former D-Link North America President Nick Tidd departed the company at the end of 2011, and his exit followed those of several other team members, including Pat Piwowarczyk, former vice president, U.S. enterprise and channel sales; Rod St. Michel, former vice president, consumer sales; Kevin Lahm, former associate vice president for North America field systems engineers; and Betsy Roddy, former senior director of marketing communications and field marketing.
Since the new year, more key executives and a number of technical employees -- including eight members of the North America team's 10-person developer staff -- have left D-Link or announced internally their pending departures, according to sources familiar with the situation.
[Related: D-Link: Our Channel Strategy Hasn't Changed]
Among the executives are Mark Ciprietti, former vice president and general manager, business solutions division, D-Link Canada and also vice president, North American Channel DMR, who left D-Link in January, and Michael Walsh, CIO and vice president of information technology for D-Link North America and D-Link Europe, who left this week.
Walsh could not be reached for comment, but a D-Link representative confirmed his departure to CRN.
Despite the departures, D-Link has kept up an aggressive release schedule of products, including this week's launch of new SmartPro IPv6-ready switches for SMBs. Albert Ling, senior vice president, channel operations for D-Link North America, also has been telling solution providers that the exits won't change D-Link's channel focus.
In a recent interview, he told the same to CRN.
"It is business as usual," Ling said. "I've been here with D-Link more than 14 years, and I know the channel and I know our strengths and our weaknesses. Nothing has changed with our partners and we are not at all taking away what we'd established during the last few years."
Before taking over for Piwowarczyk in November, Ling had most recently overseen sales operations for D-Link's channel business. Several partners told CRN that Ling had actively reached out to them early in the new year, and that he was responsive to their e-mails and calls seeking details on D-Link's direction with so many executive changes.
Partners also said the marketing and strategy plans they'd planned on with D-Link for 2012 were not changed. Ling confirmed to CRN that all of those plans were on track and that he would continue to reach out to concerned D-Link partners to assuage their fears.
Ling noted a number of recent channel program updates, including an expansion of D-Link's VIP+ program and a new partner portal -- several of which were conceived of before the major executive departures began in October -- as evidence of D-Link's channel stability.
"We have added specialized programs in VIP, with additional discounts, and we have made our commitment to training," Ling said. "We will be making even more investments this year in our channel: more support, more programs and more help. Stay tuned."