Citrix Systems has named insider Mitchell Parker as the company's new channel chief.
Parker, 35, serves as Citrix’s vice president of channel programs and sales operations. He succeeds Ross Brown, who left the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based software vendor in August to assume his new role as COO of eEye Digital Security.
Parker was groomed for the role and worked directly for Brown in the channel operation for the past year and earlier as chief of staff for Citrix CEO Mark Templeton, Senior Vice President John Burris told CRN on Tuesday in an interview at the company’s iForum event. "It was a successor planning thing," Burris quipped. "We stole him from Mark."
In 2000, Parker joined Citrix as part of the company's acquisition of consulting firm Innovex, which became the core of Citrix Consulting Services (CCS). In that capacity, Parker established CCS' West Coast operation and later worked as Templeton’s chief of staff.
Templeton said Parker was instrumental in ensuring that the consulting services division was properly aligned with Citrix's channel partners. "In the beginning, partners were very concerned [about the creation of CCS]," he said. "He built the consulting organization in conjunction with partners. It took a couple of years to build their trust."
Parker said he intends to stay the course that Brown charted for the Citrix channel and will spend his time encouraging Citrix's 4,400 partners to diversify their portfolios with new products from Citrix acquisitions Net6 and Netscaler.
"I don't have to change people's minds about working with the channel. This is a company that has channel in its DNA," Parker told CRN at iForum. "Our opportunity and challenge is making sure our partners pick up the [new] products we're beginning to sell."
He said he aims to consolidate all of the properties under one channel program, though Citrix has not finalized details on the margins and rebates for all of its new products.
Templeton said Citrix wants to penetrate the enterprise more deeply as well as concentrate on building up its small- and midsize-business activity with the help of partners. Citrix sells a small-business version of its presentation server and access suite called Citrix Access Essentials for SMBs, and the company will work to minimize any channel conflict, he noted.
"We're very interested in that space, and partners serve as IT staff in SMBs," Templeton said. "We won't do anything to jeopardize that."
Brown gave Parker his endorsement. "He understands the value of the channel," Brown said in a recent interview with CRN.