Condusiv Founder Pledges Channel Commitment After CEO Baldwin's Ouster

Condusiv Technologies founder and Chairman Craig Jensen Thursday reaffirmed the enterprise software maker's channel commitment after taking the CEO post in the wake of the sudden ouster of Jerry Baldwin.

Jensen, who founded the Burbank, Calif., company as Diskeeper 33 years ago, said he intends to stay the channel course and even step up the company's channel commitment.

[Related: New Elite Partners Praise Condusiv's Channel Program, Virtualization Technology ]

"There is no change in our channel strategy," he said in an interview with CRN just before getting on a call with the company's field sales force. "We will emphasize it even more." His message to both his field sales reps and the channel: "Get out there and sell software. It is working. Keep doing it. Sell more. Hurry up."

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Jensen, who owns 100 percent of the privately held company, would not discuss what sparked the ouster of Baldwin, a hard-driving channel sales advocate who inspired both partners and employees to team with him to reinvent the company.

Baldwin, who was forced out as CEO Wednesday, could not be reached for comment as of press time.

Jensen praised the channel leadership of Baldwin, who essentially reinvented the company from a direct-sales-oriented PC disk defragmenting software maker to a storage virtualization optimization software provider with deep enterprise channel ties.

That dramatic transformation, which began two and a half years ago when Baldwin took the CEO job, included renaming the company as Condusiv.

Baldwin moved the company from virtually zero channel sales to what stands today at 80 percent of the company's business.

"I always wanted to have a good relationship with the channel, and I was not so successful at doing that," admitted Jensen. "That is one of the great things that Jerry brought to our company. I am committed to the channel. We want our sales to go through the channel. We want to support the channel. We see that as the very best way to do business."

When asked if he will commit more resources to building the channel, Jensen said: "We will commit more resources to the channel as we can. Of course, it will be tweaked a bit here and there when we see how things are going. But currently 80 percent of our sales are going through the channel today and we are pretty proud of that."

NEXT: Solution Providers Stunned By Baldwin's Ouster

Enterprise solution providers who found a kindred spirit in Baldwin and his no-holds-barred support of the channel were stunned by news of his departure.

"I am very surprised," said Chris Pyle, CEO of Boca Raton, Fla.-based Champion Solutions Group, No. 198 on the CRN Solution Prover 500. "I thought he [Baldwin] was one of the best channel CEOs in the market. We were just starting to get it going."

Jensen said he does not plan to make any major changes to the company's organizational structure or channel sales operation, which includes a nationwide field sales organization with regional vice presidents, channel account managers and engineering support to help drive channel sales.

Jensen said he will rely heavily on Nick Tidd, senior vice president of global sales, to help drive the channel sales effort going forward.

"I always wanted the channel to be an integral part of our sales operation," said Jensen. "But I didn't know how. We didn’t have the resources, the expertise, the connection, whatever it takes to build that. Now that it is built, I have learned a lot, especially with Nick Tidd. We can run this channel."

Jensen, who stepped aside as CEO in 2009 after 28 years at the helm, said he is pleased with the current state of the company. "I am pleased with what I found," he said. "I think it is a disaster for a new executive to come in and start changing everything left and right. We have got something here that works. I should take care of it. I should study it. I should preserve it and support and help it -- not put my own stamp on everything."

Jensen, a self-described techie and computer programmer who helped drive the development of the original Diskeeper product, said he has been fired up by the reinvention of the product as V-locity VM acceleration software. He promised more breakthroughs are coming in future releases of V-locity. "We have got some super-cool things in store for the next version of V-locity, both a point release and major release, that I think are going to blow some people's socks off," he said. "That's what I love to do."

Jensen said he has been in "nonstop meetings" with the Condusiv executive team and employees since the executive change. "My message was I am the CEO," he said. "I am back. I am glad to be back. I am impressed with the quality of the team we have here. That I expect them to do is their jobs and get on with it. I am not a micro-manager, and they responded really well to that."

Jensen said the company has always been "dear to his heart," and he is excited to be back in charge. "When you create a group and set the principles by which the group is going to operate, it is very special to you," he said. "It is like your baby. It is like your child. It is really good to be back here. I feel like I am home. I am amongst friends."