Networking Channel Vet Williams Takes Top Channel Post At Ciena

A representative for Ciena confirmed Williams' hire and that his title is vice president of global channels and strategic alliances. He is based in Atlanta.

Williams was senior vice president, enterprise sales and strategic alliances at Level 3 until last fall when he moved into a new role as vice president, business development, reporting to Level 3's wholesale markets chief.

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He first joined Level 3 in 2008, but is perhaps best known to partners for the nearly eight years he spent at Cisco, ending as channel chief for the Linksys business unit. Overall, Williams has spent about 25 years in the business.

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Williams could not be reached for immediate comment, but said in a note emailed to CRN that he got to know Ciena's team through its partnership with Level 3.

"Having worked closely with Ciena for three and a half years, I was extremely impressed," Williams said. "I knew this was a team that I could work with, and one that shared a common culture and appetite for success. Clearly, Ciena is well respected as a visionary and leader in this industry, but my decision to join Ciena was primarily influenced by my interactions with the Ciena team."

Ciena has sought new channel leadership since the departure of Theresa Caragol, who became vice president, worldwide channels at Extreme Networks in late April.

Ciena has more tightly aligned itself to enterprise networking and telecom channels since its 2009 acquisition of Nortel's former Metro Ethernet Networks (MEN) business. In early 2011, it launched BizConnect, a multi-tiered channel program for solution providers and MSPs.