Partners 'Cautiously Optimistic' As Polycom Names New CEO, Say Change Ultimately Is A Good Thing

Mary McDowell

Polycom partners said they are cautiously optimistic about the appointment of Mary McDowell as the company's new CEO, effective with the closing of its acquisition by Siris Capital Group. McDowell is an executive partner at the New York-based private equity firm.

McDowell previously held executive titles at Nokia from 2004 to 2012, including executive vice president and chief development officer as well as general manager for mobile phones. Before Nokia, McDowell held senior positions at Compaq Computer and Hewlett Packard.

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’I’m cautiously optimistic about her and Polycom’s road map,’ said one executive from a solution provider and Polycom partner, who did not wish to be named. ’It’s really early to tell if she’s here for the long haul or what changes will be coming down the line.’

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Polycom declined to comment regarding McDowell’s potential tenure as CEO.

Gary Berzack, CTO and COO of New York-based eTribeca, a Polycom partner, said although little is known about McDowell’s vision for Polycom and its channel partners, change is ultimately positive for the San Jose, Calif.-based vendor.

’In the end, change is most likely a good thing as the company has languished too long in the unknown with respect to direction and sale,’ said Berzack. ’Development is now the key as well as partner retention.’

McDowell is taking over the reins from CEO Peter Leav, who will be stepping down once Siris Capital Group closes its $2 billion acquisition of Polycom, which is expected to be completed this month or next, according to a Polycom statement. Leav has been CEO since December 2013.

’Leading the Polycom team has been a phenomenal experience,’ said Leav in a statement. ’Mary is a terrific choice to lead the company after the acquisition closes. Polycom is on a great track to continue its success as a private entity.’

McDowell said in a statement that she’s looking forward to building on Polycom’s history of innovation and creating best-in-class products and services ’as well as deepening partnerships to enable the evolving unified communications ecosystem.’

Nick Tidd, vice president of Polycom’s global partner organization, recently told CRN that Polycom is not on-boarding new partners at as fast rate as other vendors but instead is focusing on existing channel partners.

’As partners look at the investments they make with their vendors and they see their vendors on-boarding partners at their expense -- meaning they’re losing share -- we’re not doing that,’ said Tidd. ’We’re investing and doubling down with existing partners.’