Enterasys CEO Passes Away Suddenly

network security

Following Fabiaschi's death, Enterasys has named board chairman Mark Stone as interim CEO.

Fabiaschi, 53, was brought in at Andover, Mass.-based Enterasys to bring the company back from the brink and revive its perception through strong sales and marketing through the channel. During his tenure with Enterasys, Fabiaschi returned the company to profitability and implemented a customer-driven versus engineering-driven culture. With a strong eye on customer and partner satisfaction, Fabiaschi is credited with making Enterasys an easier company to do business with.

Michael Fabiaschi

At the time of his appointment, Fabiaschi pledged to take a personal stake in helping partners grow their Enterasys sales. He hit the streets attending every partner event he could to get the Enterasys name onto the tips of partners' and customers' collective tongues.

"I'm trying to get the company to acknowledge and understand that 'sales' is a process, not a department," Fabiaschi told CRN in an interview shortly after joining Enterasys. "The partner is now an extension of our company."

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Fabiaschi was charged with earning Enterasys visibility and helping it pull out of slumping revenues, layoffs and executive turnover. Enterasys is regarded as one of the first vendors to bring network access control to the mainstream, and Fabiaschi was known by partners for keeping the Enterasys brand alive through strong ties with the channel.

"I'm going to be out in the field with them slugging it out," Fabiaschi told CRN in May 2006. "Now it's just words from me, but in the next three months, six months, nine months, they will see us deliver."

Jake Mitchell, CEO of NetServe365, a Pittsburgh-based solution provider and Enterasys partner, said Fabiaschi was hammering out sales and marketing plans to help make partners more successful. While Mitchell said he never met Fabiaschi in person, his impact was felt.

"He was going about the business of trying to make it a little more user friendly and get Enterasys and its partners more visibility," Mitchell said.

Mitchell called Fabiaschi a "straight shooter" and said he and others within NetServe365 were impressed with the direction he was taking Enterasys.

"He was a hell of a guy," Mitchell said. "Everyone who met him said that. His reputation was amazing."

And while Fabiaschi passed away before his full impact could be realized, Mitchell said Enterasys is better for having him aboard, albeit for just a little more than two years.

"He was the right guy at the right time for Enterasys," he said.

Fabiaschi, who is survived by his wife, two daughters, one grandchild, for siblings and his father, joined Enterasys with more than two decades of proven history in tech and will be remembered for having a penchant for growth and profitability. Previously, he held a senior vice president slot at CA and, before that, was president of Aprisma, where he lead the fault and performance management company to 12 consecutive quarters of revenue and earnings growth.

Additionally, Fabiaschi had served as chairman, president and CEO of LPA/XELUS, a service and supply chain management software company, and as president and CEO of Zamba/Racotek, a public wireless and CRM solutions provider, where he led the company to 10 consecutive quarters of record revenue and earnings growth.

Shortly before his death, Fabiaschi had helped orchestrate a $550 million deal between Enterasys co-owner the Gores Group and Siemens that allowed Gores to buy Siemens' Enterprise Communications group. The deal would tie Siemens in with Enterasys and other Gores companies, giving Enterasys a stronger presence in wireless, VoIP and security.

"Mike was a charismatic leader who made a remarkable and immediate impact on customers, partners and employees," Trent Waterhouse, Enterasys vice president of marketing, said in a statement. "His untimely passing takes away from his family and friends a man who has been, and will remain, an inspiration to us all. He was a trusted advisor and someone who was deeply respected not just by his peers, but by all who had the privilege to work with him."

In Fabiaschi's absence, Enterasys said it will continue to operate in a business-as-usual manager and that customers and partners should expect no operational or tactical changes.

Stone, who is responsible for the Gores Groups' worldwide operations group and oversight of all Gores portfolio companies and operational due diligence effort, will assume Fabiaschi's day-to-day responsibilities. Stone joined Gores in 2005 from Sentient Jet, a private jet membership provider, where he served as CEO. Stone also served as CEO of global telecommunication software company Narus and held the top executive spot at Sentex Systems, an international security and access control manufacturing company.

"Mike led Enterasys and other technology companies with a passion for driving customer-centric changes and sales skill leadership," Stone said in a statement. "He put his heart and his mind into every effort in both his personal and professional life. Mike leaves a remarkable legacy that his business associates and friend swill benefit from for years to come."