Symantec Channel Exodus Continues With Departure Of Americas Channel Chief

Symantec has lost yet another one of its top channel executives: Americas channel chief Stephen Thomas has left the security vendor.

Thomas has joined Cyberbit Commercial Solutions as vice president of sales for North America. Cyberbit, a subsidiary of Israel-based Elbit Systems, focuses on solutions for protecting critical infrastructure and other high-value assets. The company announced his appointment Tuesday.

Sources told CRN that other top members of the channel team have left recently, including Matt Smith, senior director of global partner sales and business development.

[Related: Q&A: Symantec CEO On Split, New Security-Focused Channel Vision And Apple Vs. FBI]

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Symantec confirmed the departure of Thomas in an email to CRN, as well as naming which executives would be assuming Thomas' role.

"We can confirm that Stephen Thomas is leaving the company and we wish him the best. John Sorensen has been appointed the permanent leader of worldwide enterprise sales. Rob Potter will continue to oversee the Americas channel and the management team will report directly into him," a Symantec spokesperson said in an email.

The team reporting to Potter includes Scott Lieberman, director of channels and national access resellers; Mo Sabnani, director, system integrators and service providers; and Erick Foy, director of distribution and managed partners.

Cyberbit CEO Adi Dar said in a statement that Thomas' appointment will help the company "rapidly grow" its North American commercial cybersecurity business.

In an email to CRN, Thomas said he chose to leave Symantec to pursue an opportunity to boost channel and North American sales at Cyberbit. "Symantec is and remains a leader in the cyber security industry. I was presented with an opportunity to bring some extraordinary solutions to the North American market. I appreciate everything that Symantec has done for me," Thomas said.

Thomas said in the email that the channel will be "critical" to the company's push in the region. He said he plans to support partners through engagement and opportunity, including setting up tools, programs and platforms to build and maintain strategic practices with Cyberbit.

The Symantec channel executive shuffle is happening in a time of significant change for the security vendor, which just completed its split from storage vendor Veritas earlier this year. Symantec has also seen multiple top channel-focused departures in the past six months, including Adrian Jones, executive vice president and general manager of global sales and operations; Tom LaRocca, vice president of global channel programs and sales; and Sean Maxwell, vice president of global sales strategy and field enablement.

Despite those departures, one Symantec partner exec said he was confident in the company's channel strategy and the leadership team it has in place.

"We're still very excited with the channel focus, how they're restructuring and how they will be moving forward with the channel," said Jason Eberhardt, vice president of strategic alliances at Chicago-based Conventus. "The people they're moving into place, the puzzle pieces are coming together. It’s a very exciting time for Symantec."

Eberhardt said Potter called him directly to discuss the executive changes. He said he thinks the new structure will allow Symantec to better work together to do the best thing for resellers and distribution.

That being said, Eberhardt said, he is sad to see Thomas go after working closely with him for nearly a decade.

"I've worked with him for a long time. ... I'm sad to see him go. I've loved working with him," Eberhardt said. "It's always unfortunate to lose someone you’ve worked with for so long, but I think we'll still be very successful moving forward."