Sophos Taps Well-Known Ex-Fortinet Exec As Channel Chief


Sophos Monday named a former Fortinet executive to oversee its global sales and channel organization following the departure of Matt Fogelgren, its former North America channel chief.

Michael Valentine will take on the role of senior vice president of worldwide sales at Sophos, with U.S. headquarters in Boston.

Sophos said Valentine has more than 20 years of experience leading sales and channel programs at network security vendors including Fortinet; SonicWall, which was acquired by Dell last year; and WatchGuard. He recently was vice president, sales and support at Fortinet where he oversaw all facets of the company's network security appliances as well as business development in North America, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand.

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Valentine guided the Fortinet sales team during the company's IPO in 2009 and played a major role in the integration of two acquired companies' sales teams, Sophos said. He also expanded the company's North America technology distributors and grew the internal channel team.

At SonicWall, Valentine held senior sales roles. He was SonicWall's vice president, America sales as well as vice president of channel sales. Valentine began his career at Panasonic where he served in a variety of senior sales roles.

Sophos, meanwhile, has retooled its Solution Provider Partner Program over the past year. In addition to new certification programs and benefits, the company has a new partner portal with product and promotion information as well as training videos and deal registration information.

A Sophos spokesperson said Fogelgren has returned to the business intelligence industry, where he spent much of his career.

Valentine will have overall ownership of the global channel while Sophos expands its channel sales group, the spokesperson said. Valentine said he thinks Sophos has an opportunity to become a disruptive industry leader. He said the company's variety of UTM, antimalware, mobile, email and Web security products hold a lot of potential for growth.

"Sophos is well positioned to deliver security that is complete yet simple and manageable," he said in a statement.

Also Tuesday, Sophos named Ari Buchler as general counsel and vice president of corporate development. Buchler was at Rocket Software where he served as vice president and general counsel. Sophos said he played a key role in Rocket Software's aggressive M&A strategy. Prior to Rocket he advised emerging companies in the health-care technology and IT industries. Previously he served as senior vice president, legal at Phase Forward, where he was a member of the senior executive team from 1999 until the company's sale to Oracle in 2010.

PUBLISHED FEB. 26, 2013