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Silver Peak Names New Global Channel Leader To Drive SD-WAN Partner Program

Aerohive Networks' former channel sales leader, Michael O'Brien, will now lead Silver Peak's global channel strategy and partner program with plans to go on a channel management hiring spree.

Fresh off its $90 million investment funding round in late June, Silver Peak has named former Aerohive Networks channel executive Michael O'Brien as its new vice president of worldwide channel sales.

In an exclusive interview with CRN, O'Brien said he plans to enhance the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company's flagship software-defined WAN partner program and hire more channel sales reps. "We are absolutely adding folks in the channel that are going to be helping us with distribution, managing the channel partners regionally, and supporting our current sales team," he said.

O'Brien's goals over the next six months include increasing partner profitability through Silver Peak's SD-WAN program and better support for solution providers in the sales trenches.

[Related: Riding The SD-WAN Rocket Ship]

"We're now evaluating every piece of our partner program to make sure that we're aligning it to reward partners for growing the mutual business and opportunity," said O'Brien, who now leads Silver Peak's global channel strategy and program. "We want to make sure that partners understand that we are here with them to do the co-selling. We want to enable them to be independent, but we also want to acknowledge the fact that sometimes customers want the vendor to walk in with you. We're going to be there for that now."

Along with the hiring of O'Brien, Silver Peak named Doug Woodley to lead the company's newly created North America enterprise sales organization. Woodley, Silver Peaks' new vice president of enterprise sales, was previously regional vice president of sales at Check Point Software Technologies for nearly a decade.

"I've had a high level of channel engagement through the years and with the breadth of our hiring plans in place right now, I'm looking for a defined skill set where people are already coming in with channel experience so we can hit the ground running right from the start," said Woodley in an interview with CRN. Prior to Check Point, Woodley was director of channel sales for mobile networking vendor iPass.

Woodley said Silver Peak is hiring across North America in major cities with plans to on-board new sales reps and sales engineers who understand the channel. At the same time, O'Brien is seeking regional channel account managers and people who can help with distribution.

"We're basically doubling down on what we have," said Woodley.

Chris Becerra, president and CEO of Terrapin Systems, a Morgan Hill, Calif., solution provider and longtime Silver Peak partner, said the wealth of channel experience of the two new hires has him excited about the future.

"Anytime you add people like [O'Brien and Woodley] to the channel team, it's a great sign for things to come," said Becerra. "And with them building out the channel teams – it's only getting better and better to be a partner. Their SD-WAN product and technology lends itself well to the channel. It adds a lot of value to us. Silver Peaks sees this and wants to leverage the channel to expand."

Research firm IDC estimates that worldwide SD-WAN infrastructure and services revenue will grow 70 percent annually, reaching more than $8 billion in 2021. Meanwhile, research firm Gartner said that by the end of 2019, 30 percent of enterprises will have deployed SD-WAN technology in their branches, up from less than 1 percent in 2015.

In his new position, Woodley will focus on coverage model expansion and account development in the broader enterprise market, while also complementing existing large accounts sales team focused on the Fortune 1000. He has over 20 years of IT executive sales leadership.

O'Brien joins Silver Peak from Aerohive, where he served as vice president of global channels. Prior to Aerohive, he was executive director of global channels and alliances at Dell. Throughout his career, O'Brien has served in various channel leadership roles including stints at AMD and Sun Microsystems.

"We're excited about the opportunity to add and build on this team," said O'Brien. "We're going to grow the SD-WAN opportunity for our partners, through our partners."

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