Mountford Says His Successor Gets The Channel

Preparing to take on a new role, Cisco Systems Senior Vice President of Worldwide Channels Paul Mountford spoke with Infrastructure Editor Jennifer Hagendorf Follett about his successor and the benefits of his new U.K.-based role as head of Cisco's Emerging Markets theater. Here is an excerpt.

CRN: How closely have you worked with Keith Goodwin in his role heading up the Americas International sales region?

MOUNTFORD: Very closely, because whenever we develop a new channel program or strategy, we always go to the senior vice presidents that run the theaters and ask them their thoughts, whether we can get their support on it.

The good thing about Keith is that he's universally adopted all of the channel programs we ever came to him with. Spending a lot of his time in Latin America, an emerging market, he understands how important the channel is to his business. He masterminded getting extra credit capacity for a lot of our partners down in those countries. That's a key issue they face.

CRN: Why didn't Cisco name someone from within the channel organization to take over for you?

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MOUNTFORD: Do I have people that could move into that role? Absolutely. But you have to take a look at the top first. ... He's been the top-performing senior vice president [in charge of a sales theater] for the past couple of years. The obvious thing, given that he wanted a new role as well, was to give him the challenge of rounding his expertise off by putting him into the channel role.

John [Chambers, Cisco president and CEO] looks at these senior leaders as leaders first and subject-matter experts second because the concept is that with good leaders you can put them in any job and they're going to be successful.

CRN: So this will be a sort of homecoming for you, being based in the United Kingdom again?

MOUNTFORD: Yes. ... I will get home by the weekends to see my wife and kids, which will be very nice. I've only been home for four weekends in the last 15. ... So good for the business and good for the family.