Netgear Narrows Search For New Channel Chief

Robidoux recently resigned from Netgear to take a top executive position at another company, said Patrick Lo, chairman and chief executive officer for Netgear, Santa Clara, Calif.

"At the same time we believe this is a good opportunity to further strengthen our overall worldwide PowerShift Partner Program, particularly in terms of product introductions, training and hardware and software roadshows," said Lo.

On the heels of Robidoux's resignation, said Lo, David Soares has been promoted to senior vice president of worldwide sale and support. Soares most recently served as vice president of sales for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Lo said his goal in appointing Soares is to capitalize on Soares' channel sales success, particularly in Europe. "So you will see us continue to perfect our channel sales program and support team resources," said Lo.

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Soares, Lo said, will be responsible for dealing directly with partners. The new channel chief, executive vice president and chief marketing officer would take over as the main architects of Netgear's channel programs.

Lo lauded Robidoux's accomplishments in helping Netgear build its Powershift Partner Program and praised his work with Netgear's product development team. Under Robidoux's leadership, the team worked with partners to develop channel-specific products such as smart switches, wireless access points and power over Ethernet (PoE) switches.

Jim Wynkoop, owner of Monarch Technology Solutions, a solution provider based in Manchester, N.H., said he isn't concerned that the channel management change would translate into a drastic shift in how Netgear conducts business with its partners.

"I think they are really starting to grow again, and people are getting comfortable with their products," said Wynkoop. "So I think anybody with any common sense knows, 'If it's not broken, don't fix it.'"

Wynkoop, whose business sets up and maintains network infrastructures for small-to-midsize businesses, said Netgear's advanced replacement product warranty is one of the reasons he has invested heavily in reselling Netgear's products.

"If the product dies, they FedEx you one overnight so you don't have to send yours back to get it fixed," said Wynkoop. "Little things like that make you more willing to take a risk on a product and try it out."

In terms of new products from Netgear, Kevin Allan, director of product marketing for Netgear, said plans include the rollout of a new 48-port gigabit smart switch, as well as a self-healing firmware upgrade to its line of business-class access points.

Allan said Netgear is also working with other vendors to form solutions-based partnerships that will be presented during a series of roadshows.

"Right now we're working with Firetide and Perfigo," said Allan. "The idea is rather than just doing piece parts, we're working to teach the VARs they can make money blowing out what are essentially portable wireless networks."

In its most recent quarter, Netgear reported 28 percent revenue growth, and second-quarter revenue of $88.4 million, up from $69 million for the same quarter one year ago.

Shares of Netgear were trading up 21 cents, at $11.14 cents per share, in late morning trading Friday.