Channel Veteran Peres Leaving Cisco

Edison Peres

Highly respected Cisco Systems channel veteran Edison Peres, who has been heading up the Cisco Intercloud channel effort, is leaving the networking giant.

"Is it the right time? For me, it's the ideal time," said Peres, in an interview with CRN. "I think I'm leaving the partner organization and the partner world in very, very good hands."

Peres spent nearly 14 years at the networking giant driving a channel sales explosion that made him one of the most respected and well-liked channel leaders in the intensely competitive technology business.

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For more than a decade, Peres served as Cisco's senior vice president of worldwide channels. In 2013, he was named CRN's Top Channel Sales Leader of the year before he took on his current role as senior vice president of cloud and managed services in 2014.

Partners are going so far as hailing Peres as the 'Godfather' of Cisco's current channel strategy.

"He was part of the early team as Cisco made that transition to really focus on the channel and really helped build some of the programs that are foundational with Cisco today -- things like VIP and other programs -- Edison was instrumental to bringing that to market," said Kent MacDonald, vice president of converged infrastructure and network services at Long View Systems, a Calgary, Alberta-based solution provider and Gold Cisco partner.

"We all have a lot of respect for how much he respected the partners ... He's the 'Godfather' of the Cisco channel program and his legacy will be long remembered within the Cisco community," MacDonald said.

Peres said he will move into an adviser role over the next few months to help with the transition, with his last day at Cisco set for Nov. 1 before he retires. He believes Cisco's new leaders like CEO Chuck Robbins, channel chief Wendy Bahr and Chris Dedicoat, leader of worldwide sales, can continue to drive channel sales.

"When you think about how healthy the partners are right now ... I'm feeling very accomplished," said Peres. "We have a new chapter as we're mainstreaming parts of the cloud. Also the company is moving into a new chapter with the changes going on around us."

Cisco will not be filling Peres' position, but will instead evolve its cloud field operations into the broader sales organization as part of Cisco's reorganizing the company's Cloud and Managed Service Organization, according to Peres.

Peres said cloud sales will be driven by Bahr, Senior Vice President Global Cloud and Managed Services Sales Nick Earle, and the Cisco channel team.

His departure comes with new Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins building a new team to make headway in the software, cloud services and security era. Other popular leaders who have left the company recently include Chief Technology Officer Padmasree Warrior; Rob Lloyd, president, development and sales; and global channel chief Bruce Klein.

Partners said Peres is a huge loss for the company as it will be difficult to find someone with the same amount of channel focus, influence and established relationship within the Cisco community.

His departure also leaves some "uncertainty" in the channel environment, according to David Powell, vice president of managed and cloud services at Cisco partner TekLinks.

"We certainly trust Cisco's leadership, but there can be no doubt that Edison leaving will be perceived as a big loss by the partner community," said Powell. "He helped kind of create the entire partner model that Cisco has had. Cisco consistently won awards for their partner model, and Edison was really the spearhead behind that whole initiative ... He was really the face of partner-friendly programs."

Mont Phelps, CEO of Waltham, Mass.-based NWN, No. 70 on the CRN 2015 SP500, praised Peres for driving tight relationships with the channel.

"Edison came up through the ranks and was a real friend of the channel," he said. "He was in a key role to make Cisco successful with their cloud strategy. I'm sorry to see him go. Edison did a lot of good stuff. Now we are looking forward to the new chapter."

Peres said he's retiring to spend more time with his family and it's "a long shot" that he'll accept a position at another organization in the future.

"The idea of jumping into another job? I'd may as well stay here to do that, so that's not the intention," said Peres.

The channel leader said what he will miss in retirement is the day-to-day interactions with partners.

"The biggest thing is what we've built is the lifelong friendships with the partners," said Peres.

"The personal relationships that we've built with our partners are invaluable, and I'll take those wherever I go."