Summer Shifts: Notable July-August IT Executive Moves

Movers and Shakers

Movement among executives in IT is nothing new: some chiefs stay put and others are like nomads -- here today, gone tomorrow and somewhere else the next day. Here's a roundup of notable moves from July and August, from channel chiefs, to C-suite and VP-level folks with a high degree of channel touch, to executives that, while not perhaps day-to-day channel players, made moves that certainly bear watching by solution providers.

As You've Probably Hurd...

When the CEO of the largest technology company in the world abruptly resigns it's news, whatever way you slice it. But Mark Hurd is a special case: not only did he see HP through to some terrific financial and market share gains, Hurd was also a channel advocate, (mostly) beloved by partners for the amount of time he spent on the road and his embrace of indirect sales channels to further HP's brand. Will his replacement show a similar commitment?

Papermaster's Apple Shine Wears Off

Though a bit overshadowed by the Hurd ouster, Apple, too, parted ways with a key player, Mark Papermaster, in the early weeks of August. The big question at the time was whether Papermaster, who as senior vice president of devices engineering was in charge of hardware for the iPhone, was forced out following Antennagate and the heated public criticism of how Apple handled issues with iPhone 4. It seemed only, fitting, however, seeing as Papermaster's hiring at Apple was itself a media circus and a very public contretemps between Apple and Papermaster's former employer, IBM.

Birger Steen Goes To Parallels

Parallels has made a name for itself in cloud services and virtualization software, and in early August made a splash by naming Microsoft SMB and distribution chief Birger Steen its new president. Steen, who officially assumes the Parallels job in September, is an eight-year Microsoft veteran, who in the course of his tenure there ran Microsoft Russia before moving into the small business and distribution role. A practiced hand like Steen's at the tiller of Parallels' rapidly growing cloud business sure sounds like a savvy move.

New Sherriff In Town At Cisco

Cisco in late July confirmed Jim Sherriff as its new channel chief for the U.S. and Canada, a role he officially assumed on Aug. 1 with the start of Cisco's fiscal year 2011. Most recently chairman and CEO of Cisco China, Sherriff was also a senior vice president of Cisco's enterprise segment, and before that a 20-year HP veteran and also CEO of Stonebridge Technologies, a Dallas-based systems integrator and Cisco partner. Now in charge of channels for Cisco's largest sales theater, Sherriff has a U.S. and Canada partner organization still reeling from the effects of Cisco supply chain constraints but, as Cisco worldwide channel chief Edison Peres recently put it to CRN, a huge and varied amount of opportunity.

Banic Bolsters HP Networking

Mike Banic, former vice president, enterprise marketing at Juniper, jumped to HP Networking as its new vice president of marketing, telling CRN that going to HP gives him an opportunity "he can't find every day." As HP looks to grow its networking unit to leverage acquisitions of 3Com and Palm and compete more fiercely with networking heavyweight Cisco, it'll need plenty of firepower -- and Banic, well known to channel partners, definitely fits the bill.

Sprint Sayonara

One good turn deserved another, it seems. Kevin Packingham, the Sprint executive in charge of the HTC EVO 4G launch, left Sprint in mid-August to become CEO of another company in the Kansas City area. Packingham, who was senior vice president of product and technology development, had been with Sprint since 1999 and would seem to be leaving just as Sprint finds its footing behind a hot smartphone with a hotter OS (Android) and an even hotter hook (it's the first commercially available 4G phone in the U.S.).

Mahmoud To HP

HP has a personnel concern at a higher level, obviously, but that didn't stop it from snagging Ahmed Mahmoud, former senior vice president and CIO at Advanced Micro Devices, to be its new senior vice president of global information technology. In his new role, Mahmoud reports to HP CIO Randy Mott and will run the team responsible for, along with many of HP's e-commerce outlets. Mahmoud had been with AMD since 2008, after a 13-year stint in various VP-level positions at Dell.

Palm Exodus

Executive departures following an acquisition are nothing new, but the departure rate of major Palm executives -- both before and after HP's acquisition of Palm in late April -- now qualifies as an exodus. One of the latest was Peter Skillman, who according to sources was a key designer of the Palm Pre and had more than a decade with Palm. As noted by several sources, Skillman joins Michael Abbot, Mike Bell, Rich Dellinger, Caitlin Spaan, Lynn Fox, Matias Duarte and others as SVP or VP level Palm execs who have left Palm in their rearview mirrors.

New Avaya Executive Team Emerges

The makeover of Avaya's executive ranks continues, nearly a year after Avaya confirmed it would acquire Nortel's former enterprise business unit. Among recent moves, both effective as of Aug. 23, Joachim "Joe" Heel joined Avaya as senior vice president and president, Avaya Global Services, and Christopher Formant became senior vice president and president, Avaya Government Solutions. Heel was most recently the services chief at Sun Microsystems, and also ran its global storage practice in a previous role. Formant, who joined Avaya in June 2008, was most recently Avaya's services chief and he's taking over the government role from Joel Hackney, who in June succeeded Todd Abbott as Avaya's senior vice president, global sales and marketing president, field operations.

Carolyn Crandall Signs Up With Riverbed

Riverbed Technology needs a strong marketing boss to expand its reach, and it found one in channel veteran Carolyn Crandall, who joined the WAN optimization powerhouse in late July. A 20-year channel sales and marketing veteran, Crandall was most recently senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Seagate-owned i365, and also held VP-level roles at Juniper and Cisco. Crandall, who has appeared on CRN's list of the 100 Most Powerful Women of the Channel, said coming to Riverbed means coming to a company "with great technology and doing well in the financial markets, but not as well known as they might be."

Mike Tennefoss Shifts At Aruba

Aruba's former head of strategic marketing, Michael Tennefoss, earlier in August transitioned to a new role overseeing Aruba's strategic partnerships -- involved, Tennefoss told CRN, in "further developing Aruba's ecosystem of partners." Well known to Aruba channel partners, Tennefoss will still have a hand in shaping Aruba's channel strategy, but many of his marketing and brand awareness duties now belong to former Brocade PR director Wilson Craig, now director of Aruba's corprorate communications.

Ron Sege Returns

Former 3Com president and COO Ron Sege was in mid-August appointed president and CEO of Echelon, a $100 million company specializing in smart grid technology and energy opportunities for the channel. Sege had been president and COO at 3Com since 2008, in charge of all day-to-day operations outside of China, and remained with 3Com through its acquisition by HP, completed this past January. Smart grid technology is an emerging channel play, and according to Sege, "governments, businesses and consumers around the world must become more energy efficient, and this requires smarter energy grids, smarter buildings and smarter environments."

John Combs Exiting ShoreTel

ShoreTel sees plenty of opportunity to make progress in the IP networking and UC spaces, thanks in part to what one executive called a "jump ball" in the former Nortel channel. But it'll do so without CEO John Combs, who in mid-July announced he would be leaving ShoreTel, after six years running the scrappy networking vendor, as soon as his replacement is found.

According to a ShoreTel spokesperson, "John's transition out of the role of CEO at some stage in the company's growth was inevitable and had been discussed with the board for some time. The timing seems right now that the company is well on its way to achieving its strategic goals." ---- For more executive comings-and-goings from 2010, check out our roundup of 25 notable moves from the first half of the year. Submit executive mentions to [email protected].