Top Execs From Cisco, Dell, Symantec Jump Ship To Aerohive

Aerohive Networks Tuesday said it has hired three top executives hailing from Cisco Systems, Dell and Symantec to help lead the wireless vendor's channel and sales strategy.

The three executives are Alan Amrod, formerly senior director of Cisco's global enterprise networking; Michael O'Brien, previously executive director of global channels and alliances at Dell; and Michael Lin, who was Symantec's vice president of product management for enterprise security.

"It's always a really big deal when a group of people like this decide that it’s the smartest move for them to go from an established company to one that's more nimble and doing cool things around networking," said Matt Woestehoff, director of business development and operations at Minneapolis-based The Foundation, an Aerohive and Cisco partner. "When somebody says, 'I'm leaving Cisco to go to Aerohive' -- that's a pretty big stamp on not only the future of the product but the relationships Aerohive is continuing to invest in and see progress in."

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David Greene, chief marketing officer for Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Aerohive, said the hires are a reflection of the growth and expansion at the company. "We're finding ourselves being pulled into more big enterprise accounts that have more complex demands, higher expectations and these executives with their backgrounds really lend themselves to that," said Greene. "This combination is pretty powerful for our partners and our business."

O'Brien is now Aerohive's vice president of global channels, a newly created position. He has 20 years of channel experience, joining Dell from its 2011 acquisition of Force10 Networks where he held the title of vice president of channels and alliances.

"That speaks volumes of Michael O'Brien if Aerohive is saying, 'Hey, we know this is important and you're the right fit, so we're going to create a role basically for you,' " said Woestehoff.

O'Brien brings 28 years of industry experience to Aerohive, according to his LinkedIn profile, including director of worldwide commercial channels at Advanced Micro Devices. He was named to CRN's 2014 100 People You Don't Know But Should list.

Amrod, meanwhile, joins Aerohive as vice president of worldwide systems engineering. He was at Cisco for nearly five years where he was responsible for the networking leader's wireless business. He also held top executive positions at Xirrus, Ixia and Alcatel.

"Xirrus is such an interesting player in the market with their density play. That and his Cisco history gives [Aerohive] very interesting networking insight," said Woestehoff.

Amrod has 24 years of industry experience, according to his LinkedIn profile, along with 12 years as a technician for the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard.

Lin, for his part, is Aerohive's vice president of product management, responsible for product line management for its cloud networking solutions. Lin formerly led Symantec's enterprise security product management as well as its mobile products development and strategy, including mobile device management, mobile application management, consumer mobile offerings and more. He brings 18 years of industry experience to Aerohive, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Joe Rittenhouse, president of business development and managing partner at Crystal Lake, Ill.-based Converged Technology Professionals, an Aerohive partner, said the strategic management changes will improve Aerohive's position in the channel.

"These strategic moves show that they are serious about being a big player in a very competitive marketplace," said Rittenhouse. "The brand awareness is growing rapidly and the execution of these players coming on board for the growth is going to be critical to the success of Aerohive."

Aerohive's Greene said each executive adds his own contribution to the channel.

"Lin is helping partners make sure we've got the technical capabilities that support what partners are trying to do. Amrod will make sure that his partners will engage in bigger, more complex strategic opportunities. And O'Brien will make sure the partners are rewarded with a program and a set of opportunities [so they] receive the full benefit from the investments they make in Aerohive," said Greene.

Earlier this year Aerohive appointed channel veteran Johnna Bowley as its new channel chief. Bowley previously had held channel leadership roles at Riverbed Technology, EMC and NetApp and is a multiyear recipient of CRN's Women of The Channel and Channel Chief awards.