Now There's A Switch
To give them their due, aside from King's appointment, Citrix Systems tapped Dennis Eilks, previously in charge of channel sales and partner certifications in the U.S. central region, as head of U.S. channel sales. (Mitchell Parker is still in charge of Citrix's channel programs and sales operations.) And Red Hat made a statement with its move to hire an executive with past experience at Lenovo and IBM, Mark Enzweiler, as its new vice president of North American channel sales. The latter move is extremely positive for a company that has huge potential upside for the channel but has yet to clearly articulate that opportunity.
What gets me really excited about King's appointment is the spirit in which it has been made—cooperation.
When CRN spoke with McAfee President Kevin Weiss about the hire last week, he freely admitted that he changed his criteria for the recruitment along the way, which was especially difficult since he was essentially hiring his own replacement. "When you replace yourself in a job, you want to make sure you don't hire someone who is exactly like you," Weiss said. Two examples of fresh thinking that King can bring include the ability to think about how McAfee's products will play a role in multilayered solutions as well as how to operate in an environment with razor-thin margins, he added. We have yet to hear from King but are eager to learn his plans.
Weiss suggested more vendors will look to partners to help form their channel strategy. "It's clear to me there are a lot of very, very talented executives in all forms of the reseller channel," he said.
There are positive precedents, interestingly enough, both in the software industry: I point to former Microsoft U.S. channel chief Margo Day and current Sage Software channel leader Taylor Macdonald, both of whom were VARs in previous lives.
I'm not suggesting vendors begin poaching willy-nilly from their channel partners, but this sort of cross-pollination can only result in some great hybrid strategies in the future.
What do you think of your vendor's channel leadership? HEATHER CLANCY, Editor at CRN, appreciates feedback at [email protected].