Juniper Networks confirmed Tuesday that Frank Vitagliano, senior vice president of Americas Partners, is ending his seven-year run at the company on March 31. Meanwhile, Juniper partners said they are "eagerly" awaiting word from Juniper on Vitagliano's successor, and hope his departure doesn't slow the momentum Juniper has gained in the channel over the past two years.
Vitagliano, who did not immediately respond to CRN's request for comment, is a longtime channel vet whom many solution providers credit with building Juniper's channel nearly from scratch. He also represents the latest in a series of executives who have left Juniper in recent years, including fellow channel exec Blaine Raddon, who made his exit almost a year ago to date.
Among Vitagliano's most recent accomplishments at Juniper was the rollout of the company's new Partner Advantage Program, alongside senior vice president of worldwide partners Emilio Umeoka and the rest of Juniper's channel organization. The program represented a complete overhaul of Juniper's existing partner program, offering solution providers an expanded lineup of Juniper Learning Academy resources and the Juniper Networks Product Promotion Catalog, among other new resources and initiatives aimed at growing partner margins.
Ryan Young, co-founder and COO of TorreyPoint, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based solution provider and Juniper partner, considered Vitagliano a driving force behind Juniper's overall channel strategy and applauded his efforts in shaping Juniper's North American channel program, particularly after its 2004 acquisition of NetScreen.
"I think [Vitagliano] walked into a situation where he was educating a company that was focusing on service providers and just entering the channel market. The sales cycles and sale methodologies were really different then," Young told CRN. "It was a matter of really building a channel program from the ground up, and Frank did a phenomenal job, taking really great strides and successful leaps year after year."
John O'Shea, senior vice president of Vology, a Tampa, Florida-based solution provider, also praised Vitagliano for righting Juniper's channel strategy, and being such an advocate for partners.
"I met Frank first when he was working with IBM many, many years ago. From a channel perspective, there is certainly nobody from my point of view that really understood how to work partners as well as Frank," O'Shea said. "He was excellent at the job and he certainly represented Juniper very well."
O'Shea said Vitagliano especially helped improve the lines of communication between Vology and Juniper's channel organization.
"We have been a [Juniper] partner for a couple of years now, probably close to two-and-a-half years. Initially, we had a bit of a bumpy start from a communication standpoint, but Frank got engaged there and had a personal relationship with our CEO," O'Shea said. "He certainly communicated openly with us."
NEXT: Vitagliano's Successor