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Keith Goodwin's seven-year run as Cisco's global channel chief will be remembered for Cisco's transition from a partner-friendly vendor with solid programs to a channel powerhouse that now has solution-provider partnering engrained in its overall go-to-market approach.
That was the consensus among a range of Cisco solution providers interviewed by CRN Monday following confirmation by Cisco that Goodwin, Cisco's senior vice president, worldwide partner organization (WWPO), will be retiring at the end of Cisco's fiscal year.
"Channel is embedded in who they are now," said Mike Greaney, vice president of sales for Force 3, a Crofton, Md.-based solution provider. "The Cisco world, the Cisco supply chain and all of their go-to-market strategies now include the channel. He deserves a lot of that credit, and I think his legacy will be that he put channel on the map for Cisco from a mindshare standpoint."
Cisco on Monday confirmed that Goodwin will step down at the end of July, capping off seven years as Cisco's global channel chief, 13 years at Cisco, and 38 years in IT. Moving into the top WWPO role as Goodwin's replacement will be Bruce Klein, currently Cisco's senior vice president, U.S. public sector.
Goodwin presided over the Cisco channel during big transitions in both Cisco as a corporate entity and in the industry as a whole, including the widening customer embrace of cloud, mobility and video solutions. Though the WWPO has had its share of stumbles, partners were unanimous in describing Goodwin as having done a lot to turn Cisco into the channel-savvy organization it is now.
"I'm a little shocked and a little disappointed, because he has been the cornerstone for who Cisco is when it comes to the importance of the channel," said Waheed Choudhry, president and COO at Nexus Integration Services, a Valencia, Calif.-based solution provider. "He's been a tremendous partner to the community, and he drove a lot of the value of certifications and the rigor Cisco puts partners through to make sure delivery of a Cisco solution, end-to-end, is good for the customer."
"I'm shocked that he's retiring," said Jay Kirby, vice president, network sales at Lumenate, a Dallas-based solution provider. "I thought he was really getting comfortable in the role, and I was very confident that he was focused on driving value to the partner community."