Cisco's Kothari To Head Up Juniper's Channel Efforts

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Seeking to revamp its operations around the channel, Juniper Networks has tapped former Cisco executive Tushar Kothari to become its new vice president of worldwide channels.

Kothari joined Juniper this week after spending the past 10 years at Cisco, where he most recently ran the company's Linksys division. Juniper has targeted the enterprise-infrastructure space ever since it acquired security vendor NetScreen earlier this year. The company recently announced a new partner program called J-Partner that will deploy many of the key elements of NetScreen's partner program and fold in its 500 partners.

Kothari says he decided to make the move after Juniper executives approached him.

"The key motivation for me was that Juniper has always had superior products and technology," he says. "I've been very impressed by the management team, and it's a chance to start with a clean slate."

He adds that even though Juniper has had a partner program in place for some time, it has been focused primarily on solution providers as opposed to a broader base of resellers.

"Juniper has sold about 80 percent of its business through the channel so far, but for the enterprise market we're looking for 100 percent," he says.

Kothari says his key objectives for the new program are to build the integrity of the channel, to create a program that rewards partners that add value and to create profit opportunities for partners. Juniper has already begun building out Kothari's staff, hiring former Cisco executives Bob Bruce as his vice president of Americas, channels, and Neal Oristano as vice president of Americas, sales. Oristano will report to Jim Dolce, executive vice president of worldwide field operations.

Kothari says he expects his biggest challenge will be to lay the foundation work needed to do business with a broader array of channel partners. But he also says he expects to have a "world-class channel operation in place within one year."

"We want to focus on the quality of the program to make it consistent with Juniper's image," Kothari says. "They do few things, but they do them extremely well."

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