Smooth Transition Expected For New Sophos Channel Chief

Matt Fogelgren, Sophos director of North American channels, is looking to further develop VAR relationships and roll out MSP initiatives in his new role as the company's top channel leader following the departure of former channel chief Chris Doggett.

Fogelgren is stepping in to fill a void after Doggett, former Sophos vice president of global channels, left the company to take a position with a start-up, class-action financial recovery firm.

Michelle Drolet, CEO of Framingham, Mass.-based VAR Towerwall, said that she had spoken personally with the former channel chief and wasn't alarmed at his departure.

"(Doggett) had an opportunity of a lifetime in a completely different industry. It didn't have anything to do with Sophos. He was still very committed to Sophos and the channel," she said.

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Sophos executives said that they will be determining whether they will divide up Doggett's responsibilities or find a direct replacement, although Fogelgren said that the latter is likely "not the direction we're going to go in right now."

Next: Partners Say Transition Will Not Be Big

For now, Fogelgren, who joined Sophos in 2008, is remaining as the company's director of North American channels, although he will serve an expanded role in the company.

Thus far, Drolet said that Towerwall has been in the dark about the change in leadership or what it will mean for the company.

"I've never spoken with (Fogelgren)," she said. "We didn't have a lot of day-to-day contact with Sophos, so this is not a disruption to our business."

Fogelgren said that one of his biggest goals in his expanded role is to scale the business in the wake of the acquisition by private equity firm Apax Partners. Sophos announced in May that it had made a deal with Apax Partners, which would acquire the antivirus and endpoint security company for $830 million. Among the things, executives said that the infusion of capital acquired from the acquisition would allow Sophos to streamline business, develop e-commerce channels for its partners and further invest in new technologies.

In the near term, Fogelgren said that he was examining how to better align with Sophos' existing channel partners, adding that he would continue to forge relationships with the company's solution providers and become more of a public figure for the Sophos channel.

Next: Fogelgren To Focus On MSP Rollouts

In particular, Fogelgren said that he wanted to focus on and expand the company's pure VAR channel, in addition to its LAR and DMR channels, by forging "deeper and wider relationships with true VARs."

"We're seeing a significant uptick in true VARs in compliance and assessment services, and they're looking for products that provide them with more stickiness around compliance," he said.

Fogelgren said he also hoped to continue to make strides in rolling out the company's new MSP program, which it launched in May, as well as develop strategic MSP partnerships. Thus far, Sophos "hadn't promoted it as much with our internal partners," Fogelgren said, but added that will likely change down the road.

Fogelgren said that the company's 2010 MSP initiatives would gain momentum by the beginning of the year. "People are seeing a lot of inbound activity there," he said.