Websense's Roberts Out Amid Channel Restructuring

Roberts "stepped down" from his position as senior vice president of worldwide sales as of last week, along with Geoff Haggart, who handled channels for EMEA and APAC, after the San Diego-based company eliminated the regional senior vice president positions, Websense said in an e-mail.

Websense said that both Roberts and Haggart are remaining with the company for the time being to help oversee the transition.

"The global move is designed to bring more accountability, scale and synergy to the Websense business model and make it easier for Websense channel partners to engage the company on a WW basis," the company said in an e-mail.

In addition, Websense also appointed Matt Hynes as the company's new vice president of worldwide channel sales. Hynes will make his debut at the company's partner conference in San Diego next week.

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Hynes came to Websense after serving as the vice president of worldwide channel sales at ArcSight, and will report to Didier Guibal, Websense executive vice president of worldwide sales in charge of the company's integrated global sales teams, which includes channel operations.

Websense said that Hynes would fill a newly created global role that was not intended to replace the eliminated SVP roles. Websense added in an e-mail that the transition doesn't change the company's commitment to the channel.

Meanwhile, some Websense channel partners hail Roberts' imminent departure as a possible plus for the company.

One West Coast VAR who asked to remain anonymous said that Websense seemed to pull back from its channel during Roberts' tenure.

"They didn't give any loyalty and haven't for a long time, ever since they went public," the West Coast channel partner said, who added that the company failed to grandfather in a lot of the older resellers, and ultimately revamped the reseller program and "put everybody on an even playing field."

"We got downgraded," he said.

In addition, the partner said that the company changed its inside sales model, which led to rapid and numerous personnel changes, long support wait times and overall instability. Subsequently, he found it challenging to get ahold of channel reps -- or stay apprised of who his channel rep was -- amid suffering support and long wait times, he said.

"That model doesn't work for resellers. We have to put out fires, and respond quickly to customers. When you have that model, it just doesn't work. When I 'm calling into Websense, I need someone to take care of me," he said.

However, he said that he still sells Websense and likes where the company is heading in the marketplace with URL filtering and cloud-based e-mail security services. He said he would consider reestablishing a relationship with Websense if the company were to reinvigorate efforts towards its channel.