CRN Exclusive: Mimecast Appoints Former HP Security Head As Worldwide Channel Chief

Mimecast is expanding its channel team as it looks to push more business through partners, appointing former HP Security head Eli Kalil as its new worldwide channel chief.

Kalil started with the company in late December as senior vice president of global channel sales, a new position for the email security, continuity and archiving vendor.

Kalil comes to Mimecast most recently from HP Security, where he was vice president of security global sales, channels and alliances, but has held many channel executive roles in his career, including positions at CA Technologies, Avid, Ariba and RSA.

[Related: 10 Security Companies To Watch In 2017]

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In an exclusive interview with CRN, Kalil said he decided to join Mimecast because he likes the "dynamic experience" of working at a company of that size and the opportunity to really help shape its channel strategy. Mimecast's strong growth, with sales up 30 percent year over year at the end of 2016, also was extremely attractive, he said.

The expansion of the channel team will "elevate the profile of the channel" at Mimecast, said Sean Broderick, director of North America channels. Kalil will help Mimecast take a more global, strategic view of its partner approach as the Watertown, Mass.-based company looks to continue investing in the channel, he said.

"Eli brings a fresh perspective on how do we do this at the macro level and how do we elevate the publicity of the Mimecast channel. … We've done great in the blocking and tackling piece, but now it's how do we make the channel a strategic initiative for our future growth," Broderick said.

Michael Goldstein, president and CEO of LAN Infotech, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Mimecast partner, said it was good to see Mimecast bring in an executive with a strong partner background and experience running channels at a large company like HP.

"I think they're getting bigger and need to have that type of experience in place," Goldstein said. "I think Mimecast is stepping it up at this point."

LAN Infotech now has 80 percent of its customers using Mimecast, according to Goldstein, who said he expects the addition of an executive like Kalil will only help further that growth.

"We think it's a great product and bringing in someone that has some big channel experience will only help grow it," LAN Infotech's Goldstein said.

Mimecast already has a large and growing network of partners, including resellers, large account resellers and DMRs. Kalil said his job, as the company's first global channel chief, is to help take that program and strategy to the next level.

"In my DNA, in my 30 years in the industry, I really enjoy coming into a company that has built a program, really defined what 'good' is but is now looking to take it to the next level and define what 'great' is," Kalil said. "I believe Mimecast can build a world-class channel program. I'm very committed to that."

To do that, Kalil said he plans to continue building out the company's relationships with large, national DMRs, as well as adding two-tier distribution opportunities in the near future. Further out, he said Mimecast also will look at partnerships with companies like Verizon around managed security services.

Partners also can expect to see investments in the upcoming launch of a formal partner program and the establishment of a new partner portal, according to Kalil.

Mimecast is going to facilitate that growth by building out its channel sales organization, an investment he said extends all the way up to CEO Peter Bauer. Mimecast does 100 percent of its business through the channel in regions such as Australia, Asia-Pacific and the United Kingdom and 70 percent of its business through the channel in North America. Mimecast will look to push 100 percent of its business through the channel in an organic way, he said.

"We will be hiring a lot more people on the channel side. … It's definitely a strong point for our go-to-market plan for us to expand our brand, our resellers and the customer base both domestically and globally. Every tech company today, especially every enterprise software company, has a strong channel model. We will not be different in that regard," Kalil said.