Polycom's Executive Makeover Nets Some Major Hires

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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.

"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

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