Kothari Stepping Down At Juniper

Kothari's departure comes with Juniper set to name IBM channel veteran Frank Vitagliano to its top channel job. Bob Bruce, who heads up U.S. channels for Juniper, intends to remain with the company, Kothari said.

"I wanted to leave to pursue some things that I have been toying with for a while," said Kothari, who was named vice president of worldwide channels at Juniper nearly two years ago. "We have had a tremendous couple of years."

Kothari said he and Juniper have been working together for months to form a succession plan.

"It is very amicable," Kothari said of his decision to leave. "I love Juniper as a company. I think it is a superb company that is well positioned."

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Kothari said he is currently evaluating a number of opportunities including the chance to be the CEO of a small-to-midsize company. In addition, he said he is looking at several board positions. Kothari said he plans to take some time off before accepting a new position. "I have been working continuously for 20 plus years," he said.

Kothari said he achieved all of the objectives he wanted to at Juniper including establishing a world class channel program. "We have a very good team in place and the program is very solid," he said. "It was a good point to try the things I have been wanting to try more in an entrepreneurial area."

After leaving Cisco Systems' Linksys division in 2004 to take on the top channel spot at Juniper, Kothari built up a strong team of channel veterans, including Cisco comrade Bruce and Donna Grothjan, Juniper's vice president of channels, formerly of Ingram Micro.

Juniper now has more than 6,500 channel partners worldwide, 1,000 of which have earned Juniper technology certifications. More than 12,000 individuals now hold Juniper certifications.

Kothari said the biggest challenge for the Juniper program going forward is to continue to drive channel growth. "It's well positioned to do that," he said.

Kothari said he will work to assure a smooth transition. "We have planned this for a while and I want to make sure the succession is right and everything is in place," he said. "I am very pleased with the way it has worked out."