New BlackBerry Executive Alex Thurber Committed To Maintaining Focus On Channel

BlackBerry has named security veteran Alex Thurber as its new senior vice president of Global Device Sales.

Thurber, who started at BlackBerry in April, told CRN that he hopes to help the company become more connected with its customers by attracting new types of partners and maintaining its focus on the channel.

"Our goal is to become even more connected to our customers," he said. "This includes being innovative with our selling models -- getting new types of partners and defining new routes to market. We want to ensure customers understand our road map and how we are developing new technologies and products to provide high levels of productivity without compromising security and privacy."

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Before BlackBerry, Thurber worked as vice president of worldwide sales at WatchGuard Technologies, which provides integrated network security firewall products and services to SMBs.

Thurber has also worked as senior vice president for worldwide channels in commercial and SMB sales at McAfee, as well as in global channels strategy for Cisco Systems, where he helped implement sales strategies for security, mobility and emerging technologies, as well as develop new global business models.

"As a company, we are expanding our sales team to establish more relationships with corporate and other enterprise consumers to help generate new business while still maintaining our focus on the channel as our primary route to market," Thurber said. "The success of the device business is reliant not only on the quality and innovation behind the devices themselves, but also in our distribution model."

Rick Jordan, director of Sales and Strategic Alliances at Tenet Computer Group, a Toronto-based BlackBerry partner, applauded the Waterloo, Ontario-based company's new executive appointment.

"I think this is a win from a partner perspective. [Thurber] understands the channel and I think this will solidify BlackBerry's connection with their partners," said Jordan. "Watchguard has had tremendous success, and Cisco's obviously a powerhouse company. I think this comes down to BlackBerry’s direction -- when you're channel friendly and understand the channel, it will only help."

BlackBerry’s hiring of Thurber comes as the mobile company sharpens its focus on security software, services and Android smartphones tailored for the enterprise market.

In February, the company revealed it was cutting about 200 employees, including including Gary Klassen, creator of BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), a cross-platform instant messaging application.