Polycom's Executive Makeover Nets Some Major Hires

Polycom on Monday confirmed several new additions to its executive team, including major hires from Cisco, Motorola, Oracle and Xerox.

It also confirmed several adjustments to various Polycom business units, merging the company's formerly separate voice and video development teams into a unified communications team and re-grouping itself three lines of business: enterprise and government/public sector, service provider, and SMB.

The new hires -- along with adjustments to several Polycom business units -- continue a makeover in Polycom's executive ranks that began more than a year ago and continued through May, with the departure of former CEO Robert Hagerty and the appointment of Andy Miller, a former Tandberg CEO, to the role.

Among the new appointees is Joseph Burton, who becomes Polycom's chief strategy and technology officer, and takes responsibility for both the enterprise/ government, and service provider, lines of business. Burton was most recently the chief technology officer for unified communications at Cisco, and with the move, he takes on a highly visible UC role at Cisco's most established video conferencing market competitor.

Sponsored post

"As you know, the UC market is growing really rapidly, and Polycom is a market leader focused on UC," said Burton in an interview with CRN Monday. "What motivated me was the chance to go from one great situation to another great, hopefully greater, situation. The opportunity to join the Polycom senior executive team, solely focused on UC, is one where everyone is getting out of bed in the morning trying to figure out how to build the best technology."

The wave of consolidation that swept the videoconferencing market last fall -- with the Cisco pickup of Tandberg and Logitech's acquisition of LifeSize the most visible examples -- left Polycom, itself an oft-mentioned acquisition target, as the remaining, standalone video channel vendor of scale.

The company has been focused throughout 2010 on retooling its solution provider programs and putting new wood behind its channel arrow in an effort to entice video and A/V VARs away from the Cisco-Tandberg behemoth.

Technologically speaking, Burton said, Polycom is a "gold standard" for video and UC devices, and that the company's commitment to integrating with other vendors and platforms was "exciting."

"Polycom is known throughout the industry as the gold standard for audio conferencing phones, for Wi-Fi phones, for video systems, and for doing it in a very open way, literally integrating with anything else out there," he said. "I'm giving it full credit for the many things it does well and hopefully teaching them a few new tricks to make them even better."

NEXT: More New Hires, And A Departure

Among the other new hires to Polycom is Sudhakar Ramakrishna as chief development officer, a position he'll assume officially on Oct. 11 and which will put him in charge of the merged voice and video R&D teams.

Ramakrishna was most recently at Motorola, where he served as corporate vice president and general manager for wireless broadband access solutions and software operations -- a role that made him responsible for, among other things, scaling Motorola's 4G wireless business. Ramakrishna also held executive roles at Stoke Networks and 3Com before Motorola.

Susan Hayden has also joined Polycom as executive vice president and general manager, Polycom SMB, where she'll direct the LOB strategy for Polycom's small- and mid-sized accounts. Hayden was most recently group vice president of sales for OracleDirect, in charge of SMB and midmarket growth efforts for Oracle, and before that held executive roles at SAP, Fidelity, Dun and Bradstreet Software, and Monster.com.

Then there's Alan Rudolph, Polycom's new senior vice president of global services, who comes to the networking vendor from Xerox's Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) unit. Rudolph was senior vice president for applications management and consulting and ACS, and before that he headed up global application product delivery at IBM, and had executive positions at Corio and Oracle.

Finally, Polycom has also added to its EMEA market and human resources teams. Gary Rider will take over as president of Polycom's EMEA theater, coming to Polycom from a stint as vice president of Europe Global Sales & Marketing for NCR, and various roles at HP and Digital equipment. Ashley Goldsmith will also join Polycom as senior vice president of human resources, following a similar role in the tissue diagnostics division of F. Hoffmann-LaRoche.

"Polycom grew sharply in the first-half of 2010 to a $1.2 billion revenue run-rate, and we expect this growth to continue into 2011 and beyond," said Miller in a statement Monday. "Unified communications is expected to be one of the fastest-growing sectors in technology, and Polycom is ideally positioned to deliver innovative solutions for our customers and strategic partners."

In the midst of Polycom's changes does come a departure. Polycom on Monday confirmed that Senior Vice President and General Manager, Video Solutions, Joe Sigrist, had left the company, without further explanation.