Wireless Vendor Taps Cisco, Juniper Channel Veterans

Bruce, who joined Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Meru on May 15, most recently oversaw the Western sales region at Juniper Networks. His nearly 20 years of channel experience include more than two years heading Americas channels at Juniper and eight years in the channel organization at Cisco Systems. He began his channel career at 3Com in 1988.

His recent stint running regional enterprise sales at Juniper from last October until his departure late last month brought him new perspective, which he will bring to bear at Meru, Bruce said.

"After working in the enterprise for almost a year at Juniper, I gained a new appreciation for what our solution providers see [in the field] every day. I will use that knowledge here," Bruce said, noting that solution providers are critical to Meru's growth.

Bruce joins fellow Cisco/Juniper channel veteran Tushar Kothari, who joined Meru at the end of March as senior vice president of worldwide field operations. Kothari at that time said Meru was working to roll out a revamped channel partner program.

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In addition, to Bruce and Kothari, Meru in recent weeks also brought on John Freres as vice president of sales for the Central region. Freres is a former Cisco solution provider who most recently served as vice president of sales at Dimension Data North America. He previously was co-founder and president of N2N Solutions, a Schaumburg, Ill.-based solution provider that later changed its name to Meridian IT Solutions.

Solution providers that work with Meru find opportunities to add services and create a profitable business, Freres said.

"One of the challenges for solution providers is that ability to not only make strong margin, but also be able to provide unique value-added services. There's not a big community of Meru partners today, so there's good opportunity to do that," Freres said. "We've tripled our sales force in the U.S., so there's going to be great demand creation, and all fulfillment goes through the channel."

Meru faces a formidable stable of foes in the enterprise WLAN market, including Cisco, Aruba Networks, Nortel Networks and Trapeze Networks, as well as startups like Aerohive Networks, which launched its first product line earlier this month.

For its part, Juniper named Mike Gilley to replace Bruce as West area vice president. Frank Vitagliano, vice president of worldwide channels and U.S. enterprise operations at Juniper, has been filling the role of acting vice president of Americas channels since Bruce vacated it in October.

"I will ultimately name someone to that role, but when Bob moved into his new role [running sales in the West], I wanted to fill it for a period of time so I could get closer to partners," Vitagliano said.

Tom Duffy, president of IGXglobal, a solution provider in Rocky Hill, Conn., said his relationship with Juniper has been growing stronger.

"We're starting to do more strategic partnering on a global basis," Duffy said.

Juniper is scheduled to hold its third annual partner conference next week in Las Vegas.