SonicWall Channel Chief Leaves Company

"We're fortunate that we have someone like Marvin lead us in sales," said Steve Franzese, vice president of marketing at SonicWall. "Marvin is back to really re-eneregize the channel in every way, shape and form."

As an eight-year veteran of Sonicwall, Blough had previously led the North American Sales organization, and for the past two years, led a successful European team. However, company execs say that while channel efforts were escalating overseas, they lost focus domestically.

"(Blough) spent almost two years putting channel programs in place in Europe, really cementing and addressing a long overlooked problem," said Franzese. "Europe just exploded. But while Marvin was in Europe, the sales team in the U.S. North America kind of lost track of focus."

Blough said over the past year, SonicWall was not as committed to channel program improvement and enhancements due to the company's recent acquisitions. The company bought Aventail last year, which it integrated into its operations.

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"In the last few years, we had a lot of distractions," Blough said, noting the company will focus on partner recruitment and programs in the coming months.

"We were low key [in the channel]," echoed Matt Medeiros, SonicWall chief executive officer, "but we are excited about a new generation of products and changes in sales leadership."

Company execs refrained from commenting on the specifics of DiLullo's departure, but said that the announcement wasn't entirely unexpected. "Those who were surprised might have been surprised by the timing," said Franzese, "It was a well-kept secret, but whether it was a surprise, it depends on who you ask."

Despite these shifts in leadership, company execs predict a future of solid growth for the channel program. Execs said that SonicWall remains committed to the channel and emphasized that it would focus efforts on further entering the small-business market, in addition to backing its new initiative in the midmarket.

The company also said Thursday that it would report better than expected results for its fourth quarter. Medeiros said that the results were positively impacted by a surge in sales for SonicWall's recently released midmarket networking products. Those products, he said, are especially price competitive against similar wares from Cisco and Juniper and are getting more consideration from VARs and customers because of tightening IT budgets due to economic challenges.

"We are getting far more consideration for our new products in the midtier and enterprise in an economy that is being challenged," Medeiros said. "Buyers are being challenged by their budgets and they are looking for value for their dollar and buying from the incumbent doesn't always provide that."

Robert C. DeMarzo contributed to this article