Former 3Com Channel Chief Joins D-Link

According to Fountain Valley, Calif.-based D-Link, Tidd will play a major role in developing overall business sales strategies as general manager of business solutions for D-Link Canada and vice president of North American channel development for the business and networking vendor.

Steven Joe, president and CEO of D-Link's North American operations said Tidd's appointment is a move for D-Link to fortify its channel and engage its 4,500 registered North American partners as D-Link strengthens its focus on hitting the business-class market.

D-Link has long been recognized as a strong consumer player in North America, Joe said, but now wants to establish dominance as an end-to-end player in the business sector. Tidd comes aboard while D-Link is in the third year of its 5-year plan to grow sales in the business-class market, which has included the introduction of more than 40 new business solutions between 2007 and 2008.

D-Link's 5-year plan has also seen a simplified partner program and a host of end-user focused programs, including "switch for free," which lets potential customers try D-Link gear against the competition; "try before you buy," which lets customers test drive products before buying; and a buy one, get one free program, which offers many D-Link switches as a two-for-one option.

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D-Link has also achieved growth in many of its product categories. According to research firm In-Stat, D-Link switches rank second behind Cisco Systems for units shipped and is the worldwide provider of unmanaged switch ports. Additionally, from April 2007 to April 2008, sales of D-Link's Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices grew more than 395 percent.

Joe said D-Link has created the new position for Tidd as part of its investment in its business market focus, tapping Tidd because he is a well known name in the channel and brings a new level of innovation.

"He's really established in channel programs and relationships," Joe said, noting that Tidd helped 3Com grow its channel program, despite some 3Com partners being critical of his performance. Joe said the past issues with Tidd in his previous roles stem from companies not taking advantage of his skills and being unable to adapt to meet market and channel demands.

"His capabilities and skills were kept in a box due to organizational limitations," he said, later adding that Tidd's former companies set up barriers that stifled the possibility for growth.

The goal is for Tidd to illustrate for partners that D-Link has grown beyond just a switching vendor by branching into other areas like IP security, storage, wireless and digital signage. D-Link will turn to Tidd to communicate D-Link's message to partners and educate them, Joe said.

Tidd, Joe said, will be charged with communicating to partners what D-Link does while educating partners on how D-Link fits in the market as D-Link creates its "next generation channel" centered on not only products, but a new level of services and support.

"Tidd is the latest example of the commitment we have made to further strengthen our business sales through the channel, which includes selling an ever-expanding line of end-to-end networking solutions through our growing network of value-added resellers, solution providers, distributors and retailers," Joe said.

Tidd left 3Com in March as the Marlborough, Mass.-based networking vendor shifted its channel strategy to focus on a more regionalized model. Tidd served as vice president of worldwide channels for two years at 3Com, a company he joined in 1997 during its U.S. Robotics acquisition. Before taking 3Com's top channel spot, Tidd spent five years running its North American channels.

At the time, Tidd said he and his team were "phased out" in favor of 3Com's new channel approach.