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In an internal note distributed by Juniper's Umeoka and obtained by CRN, Umeoka said Juniper was considering both internal and external candidates to fill Vitagliano's role. Partners said they are anxious to learn who this successor will be and, while disappointed to see Vitagliano go, are confident in the rest of the Juniper channel team.
TorreyPoint's Young said with Umeoka, for instance, still in the ranks, Juniper should be able to continue to grow and support its channel.
"[Vitagliano leaving] will provide opportunities for some folks who have been around Frank, and understand the methodologies, and have been working with him for over a decade or more -- I'm pretty confident [Juniper] will be able to fill the hole with some of that talent," Young said. "Whenever you lose your kind of quarterback of the system, or the surgical engineer that really makes that system run, certainly you always have to wonder, 'Are those other folks going to be able to step in and be the quarterback from that channel?' I believe that they can be."
Chris Becerra, vice president of sales at Terrapin Systems, a San Jose, Calif.-based solution provider, said he thought Luanne Tierney, Juniper's vice president of partner marketing and former channel executive at Cisco, would be a strong potential replacement for Vitagliano.
"I think she would be fantastic; she seems like she has a lot of energy," Becerra said. "I'd really like to see her [take on the role]. And she has a networking background … which I think is essential."
Frank Kobuszewski, vice president of Technology Solutions Group, a Syracuse, N.Y.-based Juniper partner, agreed that Tierney is a strong contender for the position and a "big advocate" for the channel. "They've got some really key channel people that are still there," Kobuszewski said.
Vology's John O'Shea agreed that Juniper has the in-house channel expertise to help compensate for Vitagliano leaving. But he said the sooner partners hear something from Juniper, in terms of who is taking over and when, the better.
"Any time you have somebody with Frank's experience that is leaving, it causes a bit of a pause. However, we have a pretty good support structure in place from Juniper at this point," O'Shea said. "I would suggest, the sooner we hear something about the plan, the better. The less downtime from a communication standpoint, the better."
PUBLISHED MARCH 7, 2013