Avaya Names First Global Channel Chief

First, Avaya appointed a new president of global services. Then president and CEO Lou D'Ambrosio stepped down due to health concerns. And on Tuesday Avaya announced its first worldwide channel chief.

Avaya tapped former Motorola channel head Jeremy Butt as its new vice president of worldwide channels. In his new role, Butt will lead Avaya's channel sales organization on a global level to develop strategies and programs for its worldwide network of more than 3,400 solution providers, VARs, system integrators, service providers and distributors.

Most recently, Butt held the top channel spot at Schaumburg, Ill.-based Motorola, where he was vice president of worldwide channels. During his time with Motorola, Butt transformed its channel operations, focusing on international regions and global sales. Along with his position at Motorola, Butt held executive posts at several other high-tech companies including Cisco Systems, WatchGuard Technologies and Hayes Microcomputer Products.

Creating a worldwide channel position shows that the Basking Ridge, N.J.-based communications vendor is pushing to strengthen its reach abroad and break away from its regionalized channel model. Before appointing Butt, Avaya had regional channel leads that rolled up to regional sales heads, then to the global sales executive.

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"As Avaya brings tighter focus to its core businesses of unified communications and contact centers, it will be critical for us to scale our global channel programs to meet our growth objectives. Jeremy is a world-class channel leader with the global expertise to execute our channel centric go-to-market," Avaya's vice president of global sales, Todd Abbott, said in a statement. "With his leadership, Avaya is now well-positioned to expand our partnerships with the channel worldwide."

Butt's appointment is the third major shift within Avaya's channel organization this year.

In January, Ken Archer, who had joined Avaya in 2005 to help revamp its channel strategy for North America, left the company "for personal reasons." Avaya quickly appointed Donny Ward, a former vice president in Avaya's sales division, to take over for Archer as vice president of North American channels.

Then, on June 3, Avaya named Christopher Formant president of its global services organization. In that role, Formant, a former executive vice president at management consulting and technology services firm BearingPoint, is responsible for planning, design, integration, product support and managed services. He is charged with building relationships with Avaya's business partners and integrators and establishing an environment that lets Avaya and its channel partners reach their goals through joint strategy.

And on June 10, D'Ambrosio announced that he was stepping down from his post as president and CEO effective immediately "to address a serious medical issue," D'Ambrosio wrote in a letter to Avaya employees.

In D'Ambrosio's absence, Avaya appointed former Cisco stalwart Charles "Charlie" Giancarlo to assume D'Ambrosio's duties until a successor is found. Giancarlo was picked by many to succeed John Chambers as CEO of Cisco until he resigned from his post as executive vice president and chief development officer in December to take a managing director position at Silver Lake, a Silicon Valley technology investment firm and one of two firms that partnered to acquire Avaya in 2007.

Avaya said its board has launched a search to find a full-time replacement for D'Ambrosio using executive search firm HeidrickStruggles. D'Ambrosio said he plans to continue to play an advisory role within Avaya.