Kaspersky Channel Chief Promoted To Top North America Operations Post

Channel veteran Christopher Doggett, who has led Kaspersky Lab's channel program for two years, has been promoted to oversee all of the company's North America operations, setting off a search by the security firm's executive team for a new channel chief.

Doggett, whose new title is managing director, said he assumes all responsibilities and business development functions previously held by Stephen Orenberg, who is stepping down after nearly a decade running the security vendor's U.S. business operations. Doggett, who was senior vice president of corporate sales at Kaspersky Lab and, prior to that, oversaw the build-out of the U.S. channel program for U.K.-based security vendor Sophos, said his added responsibilities at Kaspersky Lab include oversight and responsibility for the public relations, customer support, finance, human resources and information technology functions in North America.

In an interview with CRN, Doggett said the company's channel program is firing on all cylinders, with continued growth in overall sales led by the midmarket and an increase in spending by existing customers. Kaspersky Lab also has recruited hundreds of new partners over the past two years and is seeing double-digit year-over-year gains in the number of deals registered by partners. The new role was a significant opportunity to take on additional leadership responsibilities, Doggett told CRN.

[Related: Kaspersky Lab Fires Up Partners, Anticipates Double-Digit Growth in 2014 ]

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"Fundamentally, what gets me out of bed in the morning and excited about coming to work is having the opportunity to be part of a team and make positive change happen. And I love being with a group of people and setting our sights on a target and achieving it," Doggett said. "I came to Kaspersky Lab because there was a channel chief opening and I've got channel in my DNA and I very much enjoy talking with our partners; I intend to stay plugged in but I'm going to have less time available for that."

Dogget said Kaspersky plans to fill two positions -- a vice president of channels and a senior vice president of business-to-business sales. The corporate sales team currently includes Leslie Bois and Jim Sullivan, who oversee LAR and VAR channel sales, respectively. Bill Cunningham is vice president of enterprise sales, and John Salamone serves as vice president of SMB sales. Cecilia Lessard heads distribution, and Michael Canavan is senior director of sales engineering.

"While I intend to stay very engaged throughout the business, it's not going to provide enough management, leadership and involvement necessary for our channel operations," Doggett said. "We've had some significant advances in our partner community and we've seen significant productivity increases from both the LAR and VAR communities."

NEXT: Kaspersky Lab Maintaining U.S. Strategy

Doggett said his appointment will should not indicate any significant changes in the company's strategy in North America. Kaspersky Lab still plans to bolster its ties with officials at federal level, and plans are in place to open a Washington, D.C., office in the coming months. The company also will continue to hold summits to foster a dialogue on critical infrastructure protection and threat mitigation approaches for businesses. The company's core message, promoted by co-founder and CEO Eugene Kaspersky, is that Kaspersky Lab has the right approach and technologies to gain visibility into threat information that other organizations don't have to the same degree. The company is also investing in a named account strategy approach to fuel sales growth into larger organizations.

"We don't have a high concentration of our business in any one country, so we're able to be very independent in terms of our perspective and how we operate our business," Doggett said. "We have been very clear that we have one interest as a company: to protect people worldwide who use the Internet and all forms of their electronic communications to stop malicious code, stop the theft of data and to stop attacks. When we see attacks happen and when we see large-scale examples of cyberespionage happening, we analyze that threat and do a tremendous amount of research on it and publish that immediately to the world."

Kaspersky Lab is trying to make market-share gains on competitors Trend Micro, Intel Security (formerly McAfee) and Symantec. Meanwhile, Sophos is ramping up sales of its endpoint security software by increasing its channel of unified threat management appliance resellers.

Kaspersky Lab partners praise the company's product improvements, including an increased focus on enterprise products, a newly tuned Security for Virtualization product, a certified service provider program and new premium support packages. Meanwhile, partners also have told CRN they are watching for any potential fallout over deteriorating diplomatic ties between the U.S. and Russia over the crisis in the Ukraine.

Sales have not been impacted by the tension between the two countries, said Michael Knight, chief technology officer at Greenville, S.C.-based Encore Technology Group. Partners position Kaspersky Lab as a global company and can point to the security vendor's lengthy track record in detecting threats and uncovering serious attack campaigns, Knight said.

"The research and development may be Russian-driven but based on people I've met and are currently working with, they are very focused on developing the right products to address customer issues," Knight told CRN.

Knight said Doggett is the right person to spearhead strategic changes within the company's North American operations because he can have a positive impact on revenue growth. Kaspersky Lab needs to make sure that the products and promotions not only fit the customer landscape, but also fit the channel from an implementation and support perspective, Knight said.

"I think Steve [Orenberg] did a great job getting Kaspersky off the ground but when you look at it from a leadership perspective, Kaspersky needed to change gears and get some things moving," Knight said. "Kaspersky has done a good job of being at a top level from a product capability, but it hasn't always completely married that up to what partners need to deliver and customers are looking for."