The 30 Most Significant Executive Moves Of 2010
The Revolving Door
Some IT executives are like nomads: here today, gone tomorrow, and the next day extolling the virtues of a different company just as passionately as they did their previously employer. Other executives are lifers, or close to it: sticking it out with a company through good times and bad, moving up the ranks and eventually getting a shot at the C-suite or settling comfortably into visionary or consultant roles.
The year 2010 has its fair share of all types of executive moves, most notably with a high-profile departure that's kept the industry riveted for months with its implications. Here's a look at the year's 30 most notable executive moves, from several high profile CEO and channel chief changes, to some eye-opening new allegiances and appointments.
It was a quiet Friday afternoon in August, and then, a shocker: word that Mark Hurd, HP's chairman, CEO and president and one of the world's most powerful technology executives, would resign following the conclusion of a sexual harassment investigation. The details of that investigation are today still sketchy, and Hurd's resignation was only the beginning of several weeks' worth of Hurd-centric headlines. Only a few weeks later, Hurd was named president and a member of the board of Oracle, under his friend, and Oracle's CEO, Larry Ellison. It's where the channel finds Hurd today, ready to make powerful Oracle that much more powerful and channel-centric.
Just as soon as Hurd came in, so did Charles Phillips, president and a member of the board himself, announce his own departure from Oracle. According to Larry Ellison, Phillips had asked him to transition out of the company as early as December 2009, and Ellison asked him to stay through the integration of Sun. Phillips hasn't exactly disappeared from the channel, or IT; in late October, Phillips was named CEO and a member of the board of directors of Infor, an ERP software specialist.
With Hurd gone, who in the world was going to run HP, the world's largest technology company? Would HP's much-criticized board go outside the HP family, as they had with Hurd and Carly Fiorina before him? Or would an insider like Todd Bradley, Ann Livermore or David Donatelli get the nod? There were plenty of potential Hurd replacement names bandied about from Apple's Tim Cook to Cisco's Ned Hooper to IBM's Steve Mills. But the job eventually went -- in a left field choice -- to Leo Apotheker, the former CEO of SAP.
HP VARs have been nervous about the potential shift in vision, though HP's channel brass has said much to convince the channel that Apotheker is a channel guy, through and through. Whether he is -- and whether HP will emerge as a software power -- is something everyone's wondering for 2011.
It was a year of impressive channel gains for SAP, and its most notable executive hire in that regard was former HP channel chief and all-around channel veteran Kevin Gilroy, who became vice president of North America channel for SME in January. According to Gilroy, he and SAP had been talking on enough since 2005.
"We've been doing the dance for a number of years," Gilroy told CRN in an interview discussing SAP's channel changes. "They're very committed to the channel and to the SMB and SME space."
In a year of much change for HP, there was change in its channel ranks, too: in late February, HP picked channel veteran Stephen DiFranco to become its new Americas channel chief. DiFranco replaced the highly regarded Adrian Jones, who left to take a new post in HP's Asia Pacific organization the previous fall, and came from Lenovo, where he was eventually replaced by Chris Frey, who had been interim channel chief following DiFranco's departure.
She headed one of the world's largest and most important channel communities, but in late June, Allison Watson confirmed she would be moving on. Formerly Microsoft's corporate vice president, Worldwide Partner Group, Watson as of July 1 became corporate vice president of Microsoft's Business & Marketing Organization in the U.S. Watson was replaced by Jon Roskill, the previous holder of Watson's new role, as worldwide channel chief.
It hasn't been the best of times for Nokia, which though still the world's mobile phone market share leader, is rapidly losing ground to Apple, Android and other contenders. Nokia mounted a major management shake-up in September that saw the appointment of Microsoft's Stephen Elop, then the head of its Business Division, to the president and CEO chair and the ouster of Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo. Elop, who had been with Microsoft since January 2008, was involved in many of Microsoft's most important business lines. His appointment at Nokia coincided with a number of changes in Nokia's ranks, including the planned exit of mobile solutions EVP Anssi Vanjoki. Later in the year, former Nokia vice president of devices Ari Jaaksi turned up as the new head of webOS at HP, while Microsoft named Kurt DelBene as Elop's replacement.
He was one of Avaya's most visible executives until he wasn't: Todd Abbott stepped down from his post as Avaya's senior vice president of sales and marketing and president, field operations, in July, replaced by Joel Hackney, the former Nortel enterprise group president. Details of his departure are still inexact; VARs told CRN that Abbott and Avaya CEO Kevin Kennedy just couldn't see eye-to-eye, while Kennedy himself told CRN Abbott wanted to move on to "something more fun."
Following Abbott's exit and Hackney's ascent, Avaya mounted an ongoing makeover of its executive team that included, among other changes, the hiring of former Sun executive Joachim Heel as senior vice president and president, Avaya Global Services, and the hiring of Joe Sigrist, formerly of Polycom, as its new vice president and general manager, video.
From Microsoft, an October sorta-surprise: Ray Ozzie, the company's chief software architect, confirmed he would step down. At the time of the announcement, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said Ozzie would remain with Microsoft to transition his teams and projects, and then Ozzie would assist Microsoft in the "broader area of entertainment" before his planned retirement. Microsoft partners told CRN Ozzie would have tough shoes to fill -- and it wasn't surprising that Microsoft didn't plan to replace him -- although several more admitted it was probably time for Ozzie to hang it up. As he withdrew from the chief software architect role, Ozzie penned a memo titled "Dawn of a New Day," which outlined Microsoft's achievements but also its challenges in the post-PC world.
He was a veteran and a rising star at Cisco, but Tony Bates decided there was a richer opportunity elsewhere: in early October, Bates was confirmed as the incoming CEO of Skype. Bates was a 15-year Cisco veteran, reporting directly to Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers, and a key architect of Cisco's Borderless Networks, data center, UC and collaboration strategies. He's joined Skype at a most interesting time: the popular VoIP service is intent on making channel and business inroads, and also has a long-awaited initial public offering on the way.
Beloved in the channel, and one of its truest advocates, Frank Vitagliano's role at Juniper changed in May, when Vitagliano became senior vice president of partners-Americas, in charge of all of Juniper's Americas-based partner relationships. It was a return to the trenches of sorts for Vitagliano, who was most recently senior vice president of worldwide channels at Juniper, but as he pointed out to CRN at the time, Americas is 50 percent of Juniper's business and is in need of a pavement-pounding, in-the-trenches, street-savvy channel warrior. That's the Frank we know.
He was known as the "Godfather of ProCurve" -- the driving force behind the growth of HP's networking unit from afterthought to powerhouse -- so when John McHugh was hired at Brocade in March, plenty of heads turned. McHugh, who left HP in 2008 and briefly served as vice president and general manager of the Enterprise Network Solutions business unit at imploding Nortel, joined Brocade as chief marketing officer. In a wide-ranging interview with CRN shortly after his appointment, McHugh said that his job was to get Brocade's visibility beyond the "tip of the iceberg" and bring it up as a true competitor to Cisco and other networking and data center powers.
Having his every executive move watched and scrutinized is Mark Papermaster's cross to bear, but that's what happens when your last two moves were the stuff of media circus. Papermaster, who became vice president of the Silicon Switching Group at Cisco in mid-November, had a 25-year career at IBM, and was, before Cisco, senior vice president of devices hardware engineering at Apple. In October 2008, IBM filed a lawsuit, later settled, to attempt to block Papermaster's move to Apple. Then, in August 2010, Papermaster exited Apple under what was thought to be scrutiny over design flaws in Apple's iPhone 4. We can imagine Papermaster's looking forward to a calmer stretch; though as manager of the ASIC chips that go into some of Cisco's most important switching lines, that may be easier said than done.
David Roberts is one of those well-traveled channel executives who seems to get the channel better than most, so when the former Websense channel chief was hired by CA in September, partners rejoiced. Roberts was ousted by Websense in an executive restructuring in January, but it didn't take too long for him to bounce back.
What an interesting two years for Nancy Reynolds, who at the start of 2010 was hired as senior vice president of corporate sales at Kaspersky Lab. Reynolds, well known to channel partners, had spent only six months at Dell, where she landed following the elimination of her channel chief role at Palo Alto Networks six months before that. An 18-year channel veteran, Reynolds is still perhaps best known for her five years at Trend Micro.
Cisco: Goodwin, Peres, Bahr, Sherriff, O'Callaghan, Brown
Change is coming to the Cisco channel community, and as Keith Goodwin, senior vice president of Cisco worldwide partner organization, told CRN in October, it's time to re-align organizations to meet the challenges of virtualization, data center convergence and cloud computing head on. That's precisely what Cisco did over a three-month period, adjusting its channel executive team with several new appointments. Edison Peres took over the day-to-day worldwide channel chief role from Goodwin, Wendy Bahr became senior vice president, global and transformational partnerships, and Jim Sherriff, former head of Cisco China, took over Bahr's previous role as senior vice president, U.S. and Canada channels. Dave O'Callaghan, previously Cisco's distribution chief, became vice president, worldwide commercial sales, and Scott Brown took over the distribution role. What was perhaps most notable was that all of Cisco's major channel appointments came from within: an indication of the networking titan's confidence in its bench strength.
After eight months without a formal channel chief, Trend Micro finally pulled the trigger on Stephen Mungall, who was named vice president of U.S. channel sales in late June. Mungall, well known in the channel, was previously vice president of channel sales at Lenovo, and before that, vice president of channel sales at IBM, before Big Blue sold its PC business to Lenovo. Partners have since told CRN that they're more optimistic than ever about Trend Micro's channel vision, especially with the security spaces in which Trend plays getting that much more competitive.
Cisco may have stolen the video conferencing spotlight with its big ticket acquisition of Tandberg, and LifeSize and other upstarts may be the scrappier video choices for many in the channel. But Polycom is determined not to go gently into the good night, and throughout the past year and a half, made a number of moves to revitalize its technology and its channel prowess, none more important than the appointment of Andrew Miller (left), the former Tandberg CEO, as its new chief executive. Miller, whose appointment was announced in May alongside the resignation of longtime Polycom CEO Robert Hagerty, joined Polycom in 2009 as executive vice president of global field operations and in recent months has been vocal about how Polycom needs to grow in its next phase. Miller was hardly the only notable executive move Polycom made in 2010; among other new hires was a major steal: Joe Burton, who became chief strategy and technology officer at Polycom following his role at CTO for unified communications at Cisco.
Any short list of the most influential public sector channel executives will no doubt include Mike Humke, a 30-year public sector veteran and until recently, the public sector channel chief at HP, where he spent 12 years. Humke left HP in early November -- partners told CRN at the time that he had sought something that would bring him closer to the VAR community -- and in mid-December, was confirmed in a business development role for distributor Ingram Micro. Humke, whose title is senior director of business development for health-care and vertical markets, will bring his considerable healthcare expertise to Ingram as the distributor looks to build up its healthcare muscle and the strength of its vertical practices.
Well-known channel and IT executives have a way of returning to the fold, even after lengthy absences, and that's precisely what happened with Michael Capellas, the former HP president and Compaq CEO, who was named head of Acadia in May. Capellas' post at Acadia, the joint cloud computing venture between Cisco and EMC, also puts him in charge of the Virtual Computing Environment (VCE) coalition, which includes Cisco, EMC, VMware and Intel. With Cisco's Unified Computing System (UCS) data center play gaining ground -- and the competition for data center dollars ever more cutthroat -- Capellas efforts should be even more closely observed this year.
Blue Coat Systems has set its sites on growth for 2011 -- into the cloud, in WAN optimization, in security, in application delivery, in the channel -- and in August, it named a practiced hand to its top job to lead that effort. Mike Borman, the former, 30-year IBM executive and Avocent CEO, is that practiced hand.
A longtime channel presence, perhaps best known for his years at 3Com, Nick Tidd joined D-Link in May 2009, and became vice president of sales for D-Link Pan America and vice president of marketing for D-Link North America, charged with remaking D-Link's channel program with an eye toward better profitability and stronger engagement with VARs. Mission accomplished: D-Link is in aggressive growth mode, and in late January, Tidd became president of D-Link North America. As Tidd himself often notes, D-Link still can't get no respect, and he's out to change that.
"People are sometimes shocked at both the depth and breadth of the product portfolio," Tidd told CRN during a discussion of D-Link's channel strategy in February. "People still see D-Link as 'those guys that do the $99 router.'"
There's no scrappier unified communications challenger than ShoreTel right now, especially given the company's game-changing acquisition of Agito Networks in October. That's the circumstance new CEO Peter Blackmore will find as he takes the reigns from interim CEO Don Girskis, who himself followed a six-year stint at the helm by CEO John Combs. Blackmore, named as ShoreTel's new chief in December, was most recently president, CEO and a director at UTStarcom and an executive vice president at Unisys, but is perhaps best remembered in the channel for his many years at Compaq and HP.
In her time at the helm of Motorola's worldwide channel, Janet Schijns quickly established herself as an accessible, partner-focused executive with no shortage of fresh ideas. In May, however, it was time for Schijns to take a fresh assignment: a newly created role running Motorola's Enterprise Mobility Solutions & Knowledge Management Organization. Mark Kroh, previously head of Motorola's North American government, commercial and enterprise channel business, took over for Schijns as head of Motorola's Enterprise Mobility Solutions Global Channels organization, with Mike Devente stepping up in Kroh's stead. Motorola's top channel brass should have their hands full in the new year, as partners adjust to the new Motorola, which as of Jan. 4, is two freshly separated companies.
As for Schijns, she departed Motorola in late November and is now vice president of Verizon's enterprise mobility division.
Dell hasn't been much thought of as an enterprise networking vendor in the past, but its networking ambitions are writ large now. In 2010 alone, it added an OEM relationship with Aruba to supplement its existing OEM deals with Brocade and Juniper, and, most curiously, hired industry veteran Dario Zamarian to be vice president and general manager of its networking division -- the first time Dell's brought that role out from inside its storage and infrastructure group. Dell may yet have some work to do on its mobile operations strategy, too; in late November, it discontinued its communications solution group and announced it would part ways with Ron Garriques, head of the unit since 2007, effective Jan. 28.
The affable Gary Bixler is widely credited with leading a channel renaissance at Advanced Micro Devices, where he worked for 18 years and created the chip maker's first channel program. So it's safe to say more than a few channel observers will be watching Bixler's next move; in October, Bixler confirmed he would step down from AMD and start his own channel consulting company.
Go, Gary, go.
Just before the end of 2010, Paul Johnson, executive vice president of sales at Sage North America, decided his time at Sage would draw to a close. Sage confirmed Johnson's departure for another company in mid-December, and that Tom Miller, vice president of channel management at Sage Business Solutions, would assume Johnson's role on an interim basis. Miller told CRN that Johnson, who had been at Sage for three years, was offered "another opportunity in his career that he just couldn't pass up," although details are still scant about where Johnson's new gig is taking him.
It was a year of some big channel executive changes at storage giant EMC, perhaps none more impactful than the June departure of Kristian Thyregod. Thyregod, who was a driving force behind EMC's Velocity Partner Program, later in 2010 turned up at CA, where he is now senior vice president of global field marketing. Among the other interesting EMC moves: William Hendrickx, senior vice president of global channel offices, left for Tieto; Pete Koliopoulos, EMC's channel chief up until February, moved to a new position working on channels for EMC in the VCE coalition; Jeff Casale, senior vice president for global chalnnels, OEMs and go-to-market strategy, left for VMware; and Gregg Ambulos, previously EMC's North American channel chief, added global channel operations to his responsibilities, as well.
A 15-year industry veteran, Karl Soderlund led sales and markeing at HP ProCurve, but in April 2010, exited HP and became senior vice president of worldwide sales and business development at Certeon, a WAN optimization and acceleration upstart that differentiates itself from the incumbent WAN op players because of its entirely software-based products.
"What compelled me to make the move was Certeon: what a different technology they currently have," Soderlund told CRN in May. "There's a big need in the marketplace for it."
Beloved in the channel and a ubiquitous presence at its marquee events, Jay McBain at the end of December departed Lenovo and joined Autotask, as senior vice president of strategy and market development. McBain was actually Autotask's second high-profile executive move in as many weeks, having hired Mark Cattini as its new CEO.