Brocade Names Sandra Glaser Cheek Its New Channel Chief, Boosting Partners' Confidence In The Future

Partners are cheering as Brocade Communications has appointed Sandra Glaser Cheek to the channel chief position after the departure of Pete Peterson, who left the company this summer and joined Tessco Technologies.

"This gives us the confidence that there is an extremely channel-friendly and seasoned leader at the helm of the channel organization, giving us a great deal of optimism in the future of the business regardless of any transaction that may change the ownership structure," said Andrew Fisher, CEO of Myriad Supply, a New York-based solution provider and Brocade partner ranked No. 228 on the 2016 CRN Solution Provider 500 list. "If she brings a little bit of the Ruckus magic to Brocade, that will be a very good thing for the channel."

Glaser Cheek previously was vice president of worldwide channels at Ruckus Wireless before it was acquired by Brocade last year for $1.2 billion. A well-known 20-year channel veteran, she has held top channel executive positions at Extreme Networks, VMware and Adobe Systems.

[Related: 2016 CRN Channel Madness]

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Glaser Cheek also took the crown in CRN's 2016 Channel Madness Tournament Of Chiefs, besting channel leaders hailing from Dell, AT&T and Cisco Systems, to name a few.

Her appointment as vice president of channel programs comes with Broadcom set to acquire Brocade later this year. Broadcom then plans to sell off the company's networking business, including Ruckus.

"In this time of turmoil in the Ruckus-Brocade transition, this is important -- to have continuity with Sandra on board," said Gary Berzack, chief technology officer and chief operating officer of eTribeca, a New York-based solution provider and Ruckus partner.

Meanwhile, in the wake of Peterson’s departure, Brocade decided to reorganize its channel structure, according to a Brocade spokesperson.

"Under the new model, Sandra Glaser Cheek expanded her role to take on responsibility for channel programs, enablement and marketing for Brocade overall," said the spokesperson. "At the same time, responsibility for channel sales was moved into the regional sales organizations we have [in the] Americas, EMEA and APJ [regions]."

Glaser Cheek could not be reached for comment by press time.

For their part, partners believe Glaser Cheek will drive profitability in the channel.

"She's done a number of things to [make us more profitable] specifically; she's driven strong MDF and rebate programs. She also has sponsored a couple of C-level VIP events that have enabled us to make some fantastic inroads with large joint clients," said Myriad Supply’s Fisher. "During her time at Ruckus, it's been one of the more generous partner programs out there."

One top executive from a solution provider recalled that Glaser Cheek once backed off implementing changes to Ruckus' partner program that would have hurt partner profitability.

"There was a plan for possibly significant partner changes in the Ruckus program and she engaged with the partners and realized that it was not going to be the best direction and backed off," said the executive, who declined to be named. "She is a marketing leader who is capable of listening to the channel, and too often a marketing leader uses the channel to press their own agenda. ... She's willing to take the initiative.

"I feel like before the end of the year we would have seen some traction – some announcement regarding the direction [of the company]," said the solution provider executive. "It looks like Sandra is there to stay, though, which does help."