Polycom Names Executive From Rival Avaya As New Americas Channel Chief

Channel industry veteran Chris Jones will become Polycom's new channel chief of the Americas effective Aug. 3 after serving nearly two years at videoconferencing rival Avaya.

Jones was responsible for leading Avaya's global midmarket and worldwide distribution sales team as vice president of global midmarket sales. Prior to Avaya, he was the U.S. channel chief at Juniper Networks and also held channel executive roles at Cisco Systems.

[Related: Trio Of New Sales VPs: Cradlepoint Nabs Industry Talent From Avaya, Aruba, Riverbed]

In his role as president of the Americas, Jones will be responsible for leading the San Jose, Calif.-based company's sales strategy and execution in the Americas. He replaces Damian Artt, who left the company in April.

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Jones will work on building channel relationships, improving Polycom's go-to-market channel-centric strategy and evolving partners through market transitions, according to Jim Kruger, chief marketing officer at Polycom.

"He's really going to evolve both our channels and our direct touch sales team," said Kruger in an interview with CRN. "He's going to work with our channel partners to really focus in on segmentation and really go after where the opportunities reside in the Americas."

Earlier this year, Polycom unveiled a revamped global partner program for its more than 7,000 partners worldwide that included improved incentives designed to aid partners who invest the most into the company.

"We strongly believe that having Chris Jones in this leadership position will help drive partner growth," said Rhonda Wingate, vice president of collaboration for Carousel Industries, a Polycom partner.

"The new partner program is more simplified and channel-centric and shows a commitment by Polycom to invest in those partners who invest in Polycom," said Wingate. "These program changes and [hiring Jones] will accelerate sales and improve the overall partnership."

Kruger said Jones will play a key role in implementing the new program across the Americas as well as review the program to possibly make improvements.

"I'm sure he'll have some really good ideas on ways to continue to evolve the program," said Kruger. "We feel very confident that [the program] is on target, but as you bring people in with different experiences we definitely will be open-minded to any adjustments that we might need to make as we move forward."

In a release, Jones said Polycom is helping organizations build the workplace of the future.

"I am passionate about this industry and believe collaboration technologies such as video will become one of the most pervasive means of business communication," said Jones. "I am excited to join the company and lead the Americas team.’