Cisco Channel Boss Goodwin To Retire, Replacement Is Named

Keith Goodwin, who has led Cisco's channel organization for seven years as the networking titan's longest-tenured global channel chief, is leaving Cisco.

Reached by CRN, Cisco confirmed Goodwin's pending retirement and said Bruce Klein, currently Cisco's senior vice president, U.S. public sector, will take over Goodwin's position as the new senior vice president, Worldwide Partner Organization, at the start of Cisco's fiscal 2013 on Aug. 1.

In an exclusive interview with CRN Monday, Rob Lloyd, Cisco's executive vice president, worldwide operations, praised the work Goodwin had done to make partnering a top priority across Cisco.

"Keith has been able to make partnering a part of our DNA across the company," Lloyd said. "Any time we're doing a product release, that we have a strategic opportunity, we are thinking about partnering. That has evolved under Keith's leadership."

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Goodwin was named Cisco channel chief in June 2005, succeeding Paul Mountford, now Cisco's senior vice president, global enterprise market. Mountford had had the role since 2002.

Goodwin previously was head of Cisco's Americas International Theater, covering Canada, the Caribbean, Mexico and Latin America. He joined San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco in 1999 as vice president of operations, worldwide field organization, and before Cisco, spent 20 years at Hewlett-Packard, ending his time there as vice president and general manager, worldwide enterprise accounts. Goodwin has been in the industry for 38 years, Lloyd said.

Goodwin's 2005-2012 run as channel chief spans some of the biggest events in Cisco channel history, from several reorganizations of the Worldwide Partner Organization to massive partner investments such as Cisco's 2008 SMB pledge and the 2011 partner-led launch. He also was at the channel helm during Cisco's messy global supply chain crisis in 2009 and 2010. Goodwin was named CRN's Channel Executive of the Year in 2009.

Goodwin also has made partnering at Cisco more global in scope, Lloyd said.

"I can tell you that when Keith started, a lot of what we were doing was very small, local, almost country-based engagement," he said. "We've tried to speed up our processes to go more quickly. We've listened to our partners."

NEXT: Meet The New Cisco Channel Boss

Into Goodwin's channel chief stead steps Klein, who will be the top Cisco executive overseeing 60,000 or so global partners affiliated with the Worldwide Partner Organization.

"Bruce is one of our most fabulous leaders," Lloyd said. "He's a natural leader and a top talent. People love to work for him and with him, and he builds extremely strong relationships."

Klein will report, as Goodwin does, to Lloyd. He will remain in Herndon, Va., where he's currently based, Lloyd said.

"The feedback I've heard from partners is we've got a great model -- an industry-leading program -- and that we can make that even more effective than we have today," Lloyd said. "Well, Bruce has been doing that in public sector. He's traveled with me on many occasions and we've visited government leaders. He gets partnering. "

Klein joined Cisco in 2004 and led its U.S. federal sales organization. He is also the creator and leader of Cisco's Global Public Sector Board, which focuses on Cisco strategy for public sector accounts worldwide. Before Cisco, he was vice president of federal at HP, in charge of sales, services, support and marketing to the federal government. He's a 30-year industry veteran, Lloyd said.

"Bruce can help us with the integration in our field teams and deep solution teams," Lloyd said. "When I first went to meet his team, I saw how deeply they went after big problems. He's been leading major programs in his business, and he does them in a partnering way."

Klein's move continues another Cisco tradition dating back to Mountford predecessor Tom Mitchell's tenure: This will be the third time that the new Cisco global channel chief has not come from inside the Worldwide Partner Organization.

Both Mountford and Goodwin had vice president-level sales jobs in other areas of Cisco before taking over, although Lloyd said that isn't a factor in the decision. Lloyd also told CRN that Cisco did not look at any external candidates for Goodwin's replacement.

"The decision is mine, and I involved a broad group of individuals. This is so important to Cisco," Lloyd said.

Cisco won't be making any other changes within the Worldwide Partner Organization, Lloyd said, meaning well-known channel leaders such as Edison Peres, senior vice president, worldwide channels; Wendy Bahr, senior vice president, global and transformational partnerships; and Andrew Sage, vice president, worldwide partner led, will remain in place.

"They are proud of what they've built and that partnering is now a part of our DNA," Lloyd said. "It's a proud team, and I know Keith would say so as well."

Stepping to fill Klein's shoes in public sector is Patrick Finn, currently senior vice president, U.S. federal organization. Finn will report to Chuck Robbins, senior vice president, The Americas.

Cisco has one more major executive decision to make, and that's the successor to Edzard Overbeek, who leads the Asia-Pacific, Japan and Greater China (APJC) geography in Lloyd's organization.

Overbeek was recently confirmed to succeed Gary Moore and head up Cisco's global services organization. Lloyd said a decision on his APJC successor will be announced in the coming weeks.