IBM Names Judd Ficklen New North America Channel Chief As Carola Cazenave Departs

Cazenave, vice president of IBM’s North America partner ecosystem for just over one year, is leaving for a job at an unnamed software company.


IBM North American channel chief Carola Cazenave is leaving the company to take a job with an unnamed software company, Cazenave disclosed to CRN Thursday.

Judd Ficklen, a 24-year IBM veteran who currently manages IBM’s relationship with distributor Tech Data, will take over as North America channel chief. Ficklen wasn’t immediately available for comment about his new role.

Cazenave, who has served as vice president of the IBM North America Partner Ecosystem since April 2019, will leave the company at the end of this month.

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“I've always loved collaborating with entrepreneurs, so I've decided it's time for me to focus on helping companies to grow from entrepreneurs to enterprises by developing the right ecosystems,” Cazenave (pictured above) said in an email. She said that she is leaving to join a small software company “where I can be of help in their strategy focused on empowering customers with digital transformation that is so needed in this new normal.”

Cazenave has been with IBM since 2002, holding a number of sales management positions through the years. She was named VP of global business partner ecosystem strategy and programs in January 2018 and then VP of the IBM North America partner ecosystem in April 2019.

Cazenave was named one of CRN’s 50 Most Influential Channel Chiefs for 2020.

“I’m proud of the transformation we drove across the IBM [North American] partner ecosystem as we changed the direction of our ecosystem into one of investment and growth,” Cazenave said.

“Judd’s broad experience makes him an excellent business partner ally and I firmly believe that he will be the best leader for the ecosystem in this moment,” she said.

Ficklen joined IBM in 1996 and held a number of sales, management and executive positions before being named VP of IBM Global Financing in 2009. He became general manager of IBM’s enterprise and commercial business in North America in February 2016 before becoming global managing director of IBM’s relationship with Tech Data in May 2018, according to his LinkedIn page.

Ficklen “manages and grows the IBM and Tech Data relationship by working with our partner ecosystem to help their clients improve their businesses through cloud solutions, analytics, security, systems hardware, financing and services,” Cazenave said in her email.

Before joining IBM, Ficklen worked at United Bank in Georgia and before that at First Union Bank in Atlanta and in Charlotte, N.C., according to his LinkedIn page.

An executive at a solution provider that partners with IBM speculated that Cazenave’s departure could be linked to other management changes within IBM’s channel organization.

Cazenave was part of the management team put together by John Teltsch who was general manager of IBM’s partner ecosystem before moving in July 2019 to become general manager of IBM systems sales. David La Rose was named to replace Teltsch as general manager of the IBM partner ecosystem.

“I’m sure she has a great opportunity on the outside,” the partner said, noting that Cazenave was in the job for just one year, “and there are plenty of talented executives [within IBM] that can step into that role.”