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Avaya Wednesday confirmed a number of shake-ups to its executive channel team, including the departure of worldwide channel Chief John Spiliotis, along with the upcoming departure of Tom Mitchell, senior vice president of Global Sales.
Spiliotis, Avaya confirmed, has already jumped ship to firewall startup Palo Alto Networks, where, according to his LinkedIn profile, he took a role as vice president of Palo Alto's Americas Sales.
Mitchell, for his part, told CRN in an exclusive interview Wednesday that he is resigning on Sept. 30, the end of Avaya's fiscal year, but that he hasn't lined up a new role yet. "I haven't even looked," he said. "My level of commitment [to Avaya] has been very, very complete."
Mitchell is handing over all responsibilities to Pierre-Paul Allard, formerly Avaya's senior vice president of global strategy and development. Mitchell stressed that his leaving Avaya was always in the cards, having first joined the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company in 2010 under an agreement whereby he would offer channel-related consulting services on a near-term basis only.
"It started out as a short engagement to turn around some things in the channel, and it was supposed to be six months," Mitchell said. "It turned out to be three, three-and-a-half years."
Mitchell added that now seemed like a "good time" for him to turn the reigns over to Allard, given the recent progress of Avaya in the channel.
"I'm very pleased with what we have done over the past years with the partner community and the go-to-market [strategy] and the midmarket, and so on," Mitchell said. "I'm comfortable with the work we've done and, again, it's a great time to pass it over."
Though some Avaya partners may argue the UC vendor still faces its fair shares of challenges, Avaya has thrown much more of its weight behind the channel with Mitchell at the helm. Roughly 80 percent of Avaya's sales today run through the channel, and the company has taken steps to make both itself and its product portfolio more navigable for partners. Avaya has started, for instance, the rollout of One Source, a revamped partner portal that consolidates quoting and pricing details for Avaya's entire product portfolio, making it easier for partners to complete orders on not only legacy Avaya products, but those it came into through its acquisitions of Radvision and Nortel.
Mitchell also stressed that the Avaya channel will be in good hands with Allard, who's been with Avaya for about 13 months and, before that, had a 19-year run at Cisco, where he most recently was vice president of sales of operations, global enterprise. Prior to Cisco, Allard spend 11 years at IBM.