Symantec Channel Chief Eldh Latest Executive To Depart

Symantec Channel Chief John Eldh, who oversaw many of the latest changes to the company's channel program during a period of tumultuous change to its internal sales force, the firing of its CEO and other senior-level executive departures, is leaving Symantec effective Aug. 29.

A Symantec spokesperson said Eldh is departing to pursue a new endeavor. Rick Kramer, Symantec's vice president of sales, National Solution Providers and Global Integrators for North America, will oversee channel and commercial sales in the interim.

"We are currently contacting our partners to communicate this information directly and assure them there will be no interruption in their partnership with Symantec," the spokesperson said. "We want to thank John for his many years with Symantec and wish him the best on this new opportunity."

[Related: Symantec Finalizing CEO Candidates, Plans September Announcement]

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Eldh served at Symantec for nearly a decade as vice president of inside sales for Veritas in 2005, the year the company was acquired by Symantec. He spent three years overseeing sales in Ireland and the U.K., and took over as vice president of Americas channel and distribution sales in 2012. He was previously a vice president at research firm Gartner.

Symantec partners said they were surprised by the news, which comes at a time when the company is in the middle of a search for a new CEO. The dust is finally settling following a year of significant restructuring to the inside sales force, which also significantly impacted the channel, partners told CRN.

Symantec's board of directors plans to announce a new CEO at the end of September. Other significant executive departures included the president of products and services and the chief financial officer. Symantec's Garrett Jones, who oversaw global channel operations, left in May. Partners said they are hopeful a new Symantec CEO would be more balanced and could handle both sales and product management strategy.

Eldh was extremely channel-focused and oversaw significant changes to the channel program in recent months, focusing on partner competency, said Kevin Wheeler, founder and managing director at Dallas-based information security services company InfoDefense.

"Seeing all these departures definitely concerns me, but we are sticking with Symantec," Wheeler said. "Like any other relationship, there are challenges, but from our perspective, business is improving."

Jason Livingston, CEO of Bloomington, Minn.-based Intuitive Technology Group, a Symantec Platinum Partner, said his company will continue to stand strong with Symantec. Livingston said he received a call from his dedicated partner manager who reassured him that the transition would be a smooth one. Symantec news has grown increasingly positive in recent months, Livingston said.

"The things I'm hearing from the product side make me extremely optimistic," Livingston said. "I'm seeing development on products that we haven't seen in the last five years."

Kramer, who will now oversee channel and commercial sales, also has a lengthy history at Symantec. He started as a senior systems sales engineer at Veritas in 2000, and following the merger of the storage giant in 2005, he moved into an account executive role. He held a variety of sales roles and spent a year as director of national partner sales in 2013 before taking on his current role in April.

"John has been an exemplary leader, instrumental in transforming our partner posture and our channel culture within sales. We wish him well as he takes the next step in his career," said Brett Shirk, senior vice president of sales, in an email message to partners, announcing Eldh's departure.

"What does this mean for Symantec Partners, and for the Symantec Partner Program? I can assure you that it will be business as usual as the NAM Channel leadership will continue to drive the plan that is in place to achieve our goals of mutual sustained profitable growth and delivering customer value. We're excited about the progress we've made with our redesigned Partner Program and the go-live in October," Shirk wrote.