Avast Names Former Symantec Exec As New SMB Channel Chief

Avast Software has hired former Symantec executive Kevin Chapman as its SMB channel chief, the company announced Tuesday. This is the latest executive move as Avast integrates its blockbuster AVG acquisition.

Chapman joins Avast as senior vice president and general manager of SMB, starting Monday. He replaces Glenn Taylor, who now serves as Avast Chief of Staff and has been acting leader of the Avast SMB business for the past year. Taylor will assist Chapman in the transition, the company said.

AVG General Manager Fred Gerritse has also left Avast, the company said.

[Related: Q&A: Avast CEO On AVG Acquisition And Why Large Endpoint Security Companies Aren't 'Dinosaurs']

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Chapman joins Avast most recently from the ECCO Safety Group, where he was vice president of global marketing for the past eight months. He also served in a variety of channel and sales executive roles at Symantec over his 19 years at the security vendor, most recently as vice president, head of strategy and enterprise marketing for the Latin America region.

Sam Coyl, president of Netrepid, a Harrisburg, Pa.-based partner, said in an email that he hadn't heard any information yet about Chapman's appointment or plans, but was glad to see Avast continue to invest in its channel leadership team.

"We are very excited about the continued support and emphasis on the channel by AVG/AVAST. Their investment in quality, experienced leadership is a great indication of their interest to support the channel and our markets," Coyl said.

In an interview with CRN, Chapman said he wanted to join Avast after seeing its acquisition of AVG earlier this year. Avast announced in July that it intended to acquire AVG for $1.3 billion and the deal closed in September.

"I know this industry well. I have always been involved in the channel and seeing Avast and AVG coming together was a signal for me to get on board and help take the combination of these very successful companies and products and technologies onto the next phase," Chapman said.

Chapman said he plans to drive three main focus areas as channel chief: a great solution, a strong go-to-market principal and ease of communication and support for partners. "I think if we get those three things right, boy will we have a successful channel," Chapman said. Taylor said Avast is currently "good but not great" in those three areas.

Chapman said his channel philosophy overall is to drive "mutual respect" with partners, with fairness driven in every proposal for the end users, the partners and the vendor. He said one of his early tasks as channel chief would be to talk to as many partners as possible, to see where the company does well and where it needs to improve.

"My philosophy is once we put together a great team, an integrated team, get a good strategy in place that is backed by good products, that we will execute on what we say and do a great job by our channel. It's really all about the channel," Chapman said.