Avaya Taps Former Seagate Exec As New North American Channel Chief

Avaya confirmed for ChannelWeb on Wednesday that Donnie Ward, vice president of North American channel sales, has left the company. In his place, the communications giant will bring aboard former Seagate channel executive Carol Giles Neslund.

According to Avaya, Neslund will take over as North America channel vice president starting Oct. 1. She will report to Jeremy Butt, Avaya's vice president of Worldwide Channels.

At Seagate Neslund was the lead for the Americas channel organization. Before her role with Seagate, Neslund led OEM channel development at McDATA and has held various positions with StorageTek, IBM and Hitachi Data Systems.

Avaya said Ward "left the company to pursue other opportunities." Additional details of Ward's departure were not available Wednesday.

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Ward's leaving and Neslund's joining Avaya are the most recent developments in several executive shifts the Basking Ridge, N.J.-based company has endured in 2008.

In June, Avaya tapped former Motorola channel head Butt as its new vice president of worldwide channels, marking the company's first worldwide channel chief.

Just days before Butt's appointment, Avaya President and CEO Lou D'Ambrosio stepped down from his posts due to health concerns. Avaya said this week the search for a new CEO continues, with former Cisco stalwart Charles "Charlie" Giancarlo carrying out D'Ambrosio's duties until a successor is found.

And in January, Ken Archer, Avaya's then vice president of North American channels, left for "personal reasons." Archer had joined the company in 2005 to help revamp its channel strategy for North America. At the time of Archer's exit, Ward took over his responsibilities. Archer has since taken an executive position with Avaya partner Prime Communications.

Other notable additions to Avaya include naming former Xerox executive Raj Sonty as vice president of solutions in the SMB division; and bringing on former BearingPoint executive Christopher Formant as president of its global services organization in June.