Cisco Stages Another Shake-Up To Distribution Team

Sage, formerly vice president of Cisco's Worldwide Partner Led organization, will now be responsible for all sales, marketing, operating and logistics for Cisco's Americas distribution channel, a market Cisco values at over $6.3 billion.

Sage will replace the former head of Cisco's Americas distribution channel, Julie Hens, who was tapped just four days ago to lead the networking giant's worldwide distribution channel.

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Cisco said John Donovan, vice president of global virtual sales and an 18-year Cisco vet, will take over Sage's previous responsibilities leading the Worldwide Partner Led organization.

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In a company blog post co-authored by Hens and Wendy Bahr, senior vice president of Cisco's Americas Partner Organization, announcing Sage's new position, Hens and Bahr praised Sage for the work he had done overseeing Partner Led, especially his contributions to Partner Plus, Cisco's partner program for what it calls the commercial -- or midmarket -- space.

"Andrew's team has driven a cohesive strategy, including the launch of programs such as Partner Plus, and has brought to the market a bold message about how we're targeting midsize customers through our partners, which was a major theme at this year's Cisco Partner Summit," Hens and Bahr wrote.

Partner Plus, and the midmarket in general, was, in fact, a significant focus of this year's Partner Summit in Boston. Cisco, for starters, pledged to pump $150 million into Partner Led and Partner Plus over the next 12 months, a figure that's double the $75 million it invested in the initiative last year.

The networking giant also committed to offering more growth-based incentives awarded to Partner Plus partners, and said partners would be able to tap into these incentives as a complement to the Value Incentive Programs (VIP) Cisco also offers.

"The midmarket opportunity is a huge opportunity for all of us and we have to work together to grow our market share and capture that market," Bruce Klein, senior vice president, Worldwide Partner Organization at Cisco, told partners at the event.

That said, Cisco has also thrown weight behind its distribution business -- Sage's new stomping grounds -- over the past few years. Cisco said earlier this week that its entire global distribution business is valued today at roughly $13 billion, which is up 35 percent from the roughly $9.6 billion it represented in 2010.

Cisco also said distribution is one of its fastest-growing routes to market, and that it will continue to be an integral part of its overall channel strategy moving forward.