Channel Sales Superstar Mike Valentine Is Out As Sophos CRO
“Mike Valentine is a channel legend,” said LAN Infotech CEO Michael Goldstein. “Every security software channel program he touches he turns to gold. He understands partners and what makes partners tick.”
Mike Valentine, a perennial channel security software sales superstar, stepped down in early May as chief revenue officer of security powerhouse Sophos.
Sophos confirmed the sudden departure of Valentine, who has put his stamp on the MSP security software standout by driving dramatic security software channel sales growth during his 10-year tenure.
[Related: Sophos CEO Kris Hagerman: We’re Winning On MDR And Now Driving The ‘Next Phase’ Of Security As A Service]
Valentine’s departure comes with the appointment five weeks ago of Bill Robbins, previosly Mandiant’s Chief Revenue Officer and executive vice president, as Sophos’ president of worldwide field operations.
“Bill is well positioned to drive Sophos’ next chapter of growth and success,” said a Sophos spokesperson. “Our vision and strategy as a worldwide cybersecurity leader are stronger than ever, and we’re looking to accelerate our cybersecurity-as-a-service delivery to ensure all organizations, regardless of size, have the solutions need they defeat persistent attackers. Bill’s expertise will help us do this.”
CRN reached out to Valentine but had not heard back at press time.
Valentine, a staunch channel advocate, is one of the most popular sales executives in the channel. In 2015, Valentine won CRN’s first-ever Channel Madness competition, receiving the most votes in a competition of 32 channel sales leaders.
“Mike Valentine is a channel legend,” said Michael Goldstein, CEO of LAN Infotech, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., solution provider. “Every security software channel program he touches he turns to gold. He understands partners and what makes partners tick. He knows how to build channel programs that allow partners to be successful. It is like anything else. If you have a successful channel track record, partners will follow wherever you go. We bet on people. It all comes down to someone you trust and know will have your back as a partner.”
Goldstein said he is looking forward to seeing where Valentine puts his channel stamp next. “The channel experience someone like Valentine brings to the table for a company is invaluable,” said Goldstein.
Valentine joined Sophos in February 2013 as senior vice president of sales, bringing a number of talented channel executives with him from Fortinet, including Sophos Vice President of Global Channels Kendra Krause.
Valentine, who moved from senior vice president of sales to Chief Revenue Officer, was last in CRN’s Channel Chiefs listing in 2020. At that time, he said he had helped increase corporate revenues by nearly 40 percent.
In that same listing, Valentine said during his tenure he expanded the company network of North America technology distributors and signed more than 700 new Americas partners. That helped power revenue growth from $200 million to more than $500 million in worldwide annual revenue, according to the information Sophos provided for the CRN listing.
Valentine, who was a perennial on CRN’s most influential sales leaders list as he built out the Sophos channel network, in one CRN listing had this advice to someone getting into the channel today: “Value your channel relationships today, they will pay dividends tomorrow.”