Mitel Names New CEO

"I am thrilled to join a world-class organization that has a proven track record of driving technological innovation," said McBee in a statement.

McBee, a 20-year IT and telecommunications veteran, was most recently president of the Communications & Enterprise Group of Washington D.C.-based Danaher Corp., heading up more than $700 million in direct and indirect channel sales for carrier, enterprise and SMB markets. He was previously president and a 15-year employee of Tektronix prior to its acquisition by Danaher in 2007.

"Rich brings with him exceptional operational leadership and a proven ability to drive growth and increase market share," said Terrence H. Matthews, chairman of Mitel's board of directors, in a statement. "We are excited to have Rich lead our talented management team and position the company for long-term sustainable growth."

Mitel began a CEO search following the announcement, on Sept. 2, 2010, that Smith would step down.

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Smith, who was Mitel's CEO for nine years following his return to the company in April 2001, oversaw many key events in Mitel's history, including its acquisition of Inter-Tel in 2007 and its initial public offering in April 2010. He is expected to remain on Mitel's board.

McBee joins the company at a transitional time, with Mitel approaching its first year anniversary as a public company, and making a big bet on a software-based UC platform for its networking future. In November, Mitel took the wraps off of Freedom, a UC architecture that delivers communications and collaboration applications via a cloud-based software stream.

"It sounds funny coming from a CTO, but VoIP in the software domain is really about the business model and not the technology," Jim Davies, Mitel's CTO, told CRN at the time. "That's very germane to the channel discussion, and channel partners have some interesting choices to make."