McAfee Fills Channel Slot

David Roberts, previously the executive vice president of enterprise sales and professional services at Corel, was appointed senior vice president of North America channels at Santa Clara, Calif.-based McAfee.

During his tenure at Corel, Roberts restructured the business to focus on channel sales and corporate accounts.

McAfee President Gene Hodges heralded the appointment of Roberts as a sign that McAfee's revived efforts to establish and maintain a reputation as a channel-focused company remain unchanged. "[McAfee has] a pretty wide channel mix, and Dave has a lot of experience in key areas," he said.

Roberts' appointment follows the departure two months ago of Donna Troy, executive vice president of worldwide channel sales. Gary Brand, director of channel sales, also recently left.

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Roberts' arrival coincides with McAfee's divestiture of its Sniffer business and the July 1 layoff of some 100 employees, including an unconfirmed number of channel account managers and direct-sales representatives.

Everyone given a pink slip was what Hodges called "shared resources," meaning each had at least one foot in the functions of the Sniffer division.

With the sale of Sniffer publicly announced back in April, some McAfee channel partners said McAfee should have signaled layoffs were coming. "They should have come out up front and said layoffs would happen," said Dennis Hunter, owner of Missouri Info Systems, Kansas City. "Security is good business for us, and with the rumors, everyone was wondering if something worse was up with McAfee."

Hodges acknowledged that the company might have avoided speculation if it warned partners about the layoffs. "I don't recall many companies who divested 35 percent of their business, changed their focus, changed the name of their company, doubled profitability once, committed to a doubling again, without a little bit of impact. So can you do it better? You can always do it better," Hodges said.