Blue Coat Systems Channel Chief Leaves As Symantec Integration Gets Underway

As the integration of Symantec and Blue Coat Systems gets into full swing, the executive lineup of the combined companies is starting to emerge. The latest news from that integration process is the departure of Blue Coat channel chief Kurt Mills, CRN has learned.

A Symantec spokesperson confirmed that Mills had left the company, but declined to comment further.

Mills also confirmed to CRN that he has left Symantec to take a role at a different company, but did not specify what or where that new role would be.

[Related: Q&A: New Symantec CEO On Blue Coat Acquisition, Partner Impact And What's Next In Security Vendor Turnaround]

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Mills had led Blue Coat's channel operations as vice president of worldwide channel sales and operations since January 2015. A long-time channel veteran, Mills joined Blue Coat from Aerohive Networks, where he was vice president of channel sales from 2013 to 2015. He also held channel leadership roles at Websense and McAfee (now Intel Security).

Mills’ departure comes as the executive lineup of a combined Symantec-Blue Coat emerges after its $4.65 billion blockbuster acquisition closed earlier this month. So far, the company has announced former Blue Coat CEO Greg Clark as CEO, former Blue Coat President and COO Michael Fey as president and COO, and Symantec CFO Thomas Seifert will remain as CFO.

Michael Knight, president and chief technology officer at Encore Technology Group, a Greenville, S.C.-based Blue Coat partner, said he wasn’t surprised to see Mills leave for another opportunity. He said it is a natural effect as Blue Coat and Symantec look to merge their channel programs.

’Any time a company gets acquired and pulled in, usually that company already has an established channel and, which may not align or overlap with what the previous company had,’ Knight said.

That being said, Knight said it will be critical for Symantec to put the right leadership in place in order to succeed, both at the top levels as well as in the channel. He said the companies should look to top leadership within Symantec and Blue Coat, as well as outside talent. That final leadership team will be key to determining if the merger will be successful, Knight said.

’I think that if they allow the right people within Blue Coat to have input and navigational ability and they bring in outside talent, they can take this now multi-layered security company and build it into one brand and one cohesive solution, not just for technology but from a sales and marketing motion,’ Knight said

’That’s what it will take to be successful,’ he said. ’That is what it will take partners to get on board.’