Avaya's U.S. Channel Chief To Exit


Following a string of shake-ups to its executive channel team last year, Avaya's U.S. channel chief, Karl Soderlund, is leaving the company, CRN has learned.

Soderlund's last day at Avaya will be March 7, and he is leaving to pursue "outside opportunities," according to an internal Avaya memo viewed by CRN.

Soderlund had served as the vice president of Americas partner sales at Avaya since April 2012. The Avaya memo said the company is actively searching for a replacement, with Soderlund's team in the meantime reporting to the vice president of Avaya's Global Partner Organization, Richard Steranka.

[Related: Avaya Continues Midmarket Push With New Contact Center Offering]

Avaya confirmed Soderlund's departure to CRN Wednesday.

Soderlund's exit rounds out a series of channel executive departures from Avaya over the past year. In July, Avaya worldwide channel chief John Spiliotis left the company to head up Americas sales at network security specialist Palo Alto Networks.

In September, Tom Mitchell, senior vice president of global sales at Avaya, also revealed plans to resign. Avaya tapped Pierre-Paul Allard, senior vice president of global strategy and development, as Mitchell's replacement.

An executive at a Platinum-level Avaya partner, who asked not to be named, said he's disappointed to see Soderlund go, as he was always a big advocate for the Avaya channel.

"[Soderlund] was very down to earth. He was very approachable and really understood our go-to-market strategy," the partner said. "He was always a strong advocate for us."

Soderlund's departure comes on the heels of Avaya launching a redesigned partner program, aimed at transitioning Avaya's partner rewards model from a volume- to a value-based structure. The new Avaya Connect Partner program, introduced in November, categorizes partners into Platinum, Gold and Silver status not based on their sales volumes, as Avaya had done in the past, but on the number of Avaya technology specializations they earn.

The program also includes a new version of Grow Right, Avaya's growth incentive program, that collapses four of Avaya's legacy growth incentive programs into one, creating what the company called a "massive simplification" for partners. The new Grow Right program runs throughout the full fiscal year, rather than just three quarters as it had in the past.

Soderlund's move also comes as Avaya continue to double down on its midmarket strategy, having just introduced new versions of its flagship contact center and IP Office collaboration suite designed for smaller to midsize companies. 

PUBLISHED FEB. 26, 2014