CA Partners Voice Support For Kafkarkou As Channel Chief

George Kafkarkou, senior vice president of SMB and consumer markets at CA, took over the duties of running indirect channels for the Islandia, N.Y., software vendor after former channel chief Gary Quinn resigned on Sept. 7, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family. From the get-go, CA made it clear it would find a replacement for Quinn while Kafkarkou served in the interim.

But after CRN reported last week that sources said CA was preparing to give the channel chief job to Bill Lipsin, senior vice president and general manager for CA's Western business, several partners contacted CRN and said they would prefer to see Kafkarkou get the full-time job.

Kafkarkou was instrumental in developing the new channel program CA that introduced at its CA World partner event in 2003. One partner said it was Kafkarkou's steady hand that held the program together as distractions related to the CA's accounting scandal, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission investigation and departure of former chairman and CEO Sanjay Kumar, multiplied shortly after the CA World event.

"George knows how to run [CA's] channels," one CA partner said, adding that by passing on Kafkarkou, CA isn't listening to its partners. "We are the people who should have a say in this decision."

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Another CA partner, recalling quarterly meetings Kafkarkou would hold with his company, said there's still much work to be done to improve CA's channel programs. Kafkarkou was a positive step in that direction, he said. "George was very receptive to the partner community," he said.

Given Kafkarkou's experience with CA's channel partners, he should be offered a chance to continue to run the company's partner efforts -- if that's what he wants, said Leonard DiCostanzo, senior vice president of professional services at Turnkey Computer, a solution provider and CA partner in Staten Island, N.Y. Besides, why bring in a new face when a strong, existing relationship will do, DiCostanzo said.

"What the channel ultimately comes down to is building and maintaining relationships and program continuity. And George can certainly execute on that," DiCostanzo said. "George knows what Gary [Quinn] was trying to accomplish. He knows what the channel needs."

CA president and CEO John Swainson told CRN last week that the search was still on for someone to replace Quinn.

CA has struggled for years now to increase channel sales, which have hovered at 10 percent of total sales.

In late August, 25 days before he resigned, Quinn outlined an aggressive new channel strategy designed to triple CA's indirect sales volume and double the number of CA solution provider partners.