Partners: Verizon's Schijns Will Be Missed, But New Channel Chief Chuisano Is 'A Name Partners Trust'

Channel veteran Janet Schijns, executive vice president of solution and sales channels for Verizon Business Markets, is leaving the company. As the carrier reiterates its commitment to the channel, Verizon partners hope that the new channel team picks up where Schijns left off.

"Janet has done an incredible job with getting mind share for the agent channel at Verizon over the past few years. The percentage of revenue coming from the channel has grown tremendously during that time, and that is a testament to her success," said Vince Bradley, CEO of master agent World Telecom Group (WTG), a Verizon partner.

Joe Chuisano, a well-known Verizon veteran who has been managing a large portion of the carrier's channel portfolio for years, will step in as North America Verizon Business Markets channel chief. Chuisano previously served as managing director of Verizon Business Markets.

[Related: Verizon Channel Chief Schijns Out As Carrier Announces Leadership Changes]

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"There's no replacing [Schijns], but for partners, this will be seamless. [Chuisano] is a face, voice and a name partners trust," a spokesperson for Verizon told CRN after confirming Schijns' departure.

During his 23-year tenure at Verizon, Chuisano headed up the launch of Verizon’s M2M practice, as well as the Verizon Partner Program in North America and EMEA, according to Verizon.

Master agent Intelisys, a large Verizon partner who in April acquired Kingcom, a Portland, Ore.-based Verizon-exclusive master agent, is sad to see Schijns go, but Intelisys President Jay Bradley said that Chuisano is no stranger to the responsibilities of a channel chief. Bradley said that Chuisano has been in the trenches with partners, calling the longtime Verizon executive "attentive" and "very accessible."

WTG's Bradley said that, while Schijns will be missed, Chuisano is being back by a solid team, including former XO Communications Vice President Bill Hooper and Senior Vice President of Marketing and Product Jake Heinz, who has been named CMO of Verizon Business Markets.

The carrier also announced that Lori Bonenfant, Verizon's director of channel marketing for the last three years, will now report to Heinz.

"We are confident that Verizon's commitment to the channel will not waiver and will sustain all the efforts that [Schijns] has put in," WTG's Bradley said. "[Verizon's] channel has developed nicely, and we expected to continue to do so."

Master agent Avant, a Verizon Platinum Partner, agrees that Schijns' efforts in restructuring the Verizon program for partners will be carried on by Chuisano.

"We are looking forward to working with Joe in his expanded role to further accelerate channel growth," Ian Kieninger, CEO for Chicago-based Avant, told CRN.

For some partners, the organizational changes come as a surprise. Channel chief changeups often cause some worry about the carrier's long-term channel strategy, according to one Verizon partner that asked not to be named. "This caught everyone off guard. [Schijns] was certainly a champion for the channel," the Verizon partner said.

Basking Ridge, N.J.-based Verizon said that there would be no change to its overall channel strategy or its plans for the One Program. Verizon's One Program, which will officially launch in 2018, will integrate the Verizon Partner Program, Mass Markets, and XO Channel programs.

Petaluma, Calif.-based Intelisys is "100 percent confident" that Verizon will continue to build its channel and improve its processes for working with partners, Intelisys' Bradley said.

"We have no reason to believe we'll see a dip in their attention, and all reasons to believe [Verizon] will continue to strengthen their program," he said. "Verizon is a titan in our industry, and we need it to have a good, strong program."

According to Verizon, Schijns is leaving the company in pursuit of a new opportunity outside of the industry. Her last day will be July 14.