The 25 Blockbuster Channel Executive Moves Of 2011

Channel Chief Gumbo

2011 didn't lack for drama, whether it was C-suite shenanigans or channel chief changes contributing to a long year's worth of moving and shaking by some of the industry's most well-known executives. We'll devote a separate slide show to major IT CEO and other IT executive moves that happened during the year; here we examine 25 major 2011 changes among vendor, service provider and distributor channel chiefs.

25. Brian Wiser, Ingram Micro

One of Ingram Micro's best-known channel execs, Brian Wiser in July was bumped up to the role of senior vice president, specialty solutions division, North America, and now reports to Ingram Micro North America President Keith Bradley. In the job, Wiser is responsible for many of Ingram Micro's higher-margin organizations and investments, including its data capture/POS business and its Mobility and Physical Security business units.

24. Wendy Petty, CA Technologies

Wendy Petty, a longtime presence in the storage channel due to her previous role as sales vice president at FalconStor, moved on to CA Technologies in the spring following a management shuffle at FalconStor in 2010. At CA, she became senior advisor, business development, for the vendor's cloud customer solution unit, focused on business development for CA's cloud computing platform, AppLogic.

23. James Fairweather, Vidyo

Videoconferencing upstart Vidyo continued to make gains with channel partners in 2011, and what's helped is that it has continued to attract veteran videoconferencing market talent to its executive ranks. One of its big hires in 2011 specific to the channel was James Fairweather, vice president, worldwide channels, who joined Vidyo in August following a year as vice president, worldwide sales for HP's Visual Collaboration Business Unit. Fairweather is best known, however, for the 12 years he spent at Polycom, where until 2009 he was vice president, North America and U.S. sales. Fairweather wasn't the only HP-to-Vidyo jump, either; Mark Reid, another Polycom alumnus, joined Vidyo as senior director of engineering around the same time.

22. Dan Sibille, Polycom

There was a lot of jersey-changing among major videoconferencing vendors and in November LifeSize's channel chief did a presto-changeo to Polycom. Dan Sibille, Polycom's vice president of North America, covers all aspects of partner development with Polycom channel partners, including VARs and systems integrators. He was until November director of Americas channels for LifeSize, where he was instrumental in revamping that scrappy infrastructure vendor's channel program.

21. Francois Daumard, Apple

The hiring by Apple of former Microsoft channel stalwart Francois Daumard may turn out to be one of Apple's most significant hires -- it's Daumard who is heading up Apple's fledging channel focus for iPhone and iPad. Daumard, who was recruited to Apple in May, is in charge of "recruitment and sales enablement of channel partners that want to deploy Mobility Solutions on Apple devices," according to his job description. His role should become that much more crucial as more solution providers look to involve themselves in the sale and management of Apple iOS devices to business customers.

20. Alex Dobson, Huawei

2011 was the year that Huawei, the $28 billion Chinese telecom equipment behemoth, made a formal run at the U.S. enterprise market, with the unveiling of a Huawei U.S. partner program to boot.

Among Huawei's key hires to help cement its momentum here was Alex Dobson, who became vice president, sales, Huawei U.S. Enterprise in November. A longtime channel presence, Dobson is known to solution providers for the years he spent at 3Com and HP Networking, and he's now Huawei's official U.S. channel chief.

19. Michael Jerich, Level 3 Communications

Level 3's acquisition of Global Crossing in October made for some key changes in its channel executive ranks, including that Michael Jerich would be taking over all of Level 3's indirect programs as channel chief. Jerich's title is vice president, indirect channels, and it's a return of sorts for the executive, who was vice president of sales at Level 3 until 2009.

18. Shane McNamara, XO Communications

More moving and shaking in the telecom space: Shane McNamara, well known to the telecom and carrier channels for the years he spent running the carrier program at CDW, was named channel chief at XO Communications in June. McNamara, whose full title is vice president, indirect sales, heads up XO's Business Partner Program and is responsible for XO indirect sales through agents, carrier partners and VARs.

17. Amanda Jobbins, Cisco

Heading up global partner marketing is a top job in the Cisco channel -- the networking titan's partner marketing programs are some of the industry's most highly regarded. Following former marketing boss Luanne Tierney's defection to Juniper in January, Cisco anointed Amanda Jobbins as vice president of global partner marketing in July. Jobbins, who reports to Blair Christie, Cisco's chief marketing and communications officer, has an expanded version of the job than what Tierney had and is spearheading a number of new partner marketing initiatives, as well as the return of Cisco's much-loved Partner Velocity conference in February.

16. Juliann Larimer, Motorola Solutions

Juliann Larimer took over as Motorola Solutions' global channel chief following a channel management shuffle in the fall and now has total management of Motorola Solutions' PartnerEmpower solution provider program. Larimer, who joined Motorola earlier in 2011 following a channel chief gig at NCR, had most recently been vice president, global channel strategy, programs and governance. Mark Kroh, who'd had Larimer's role, became vice president, North America channels, and also took over Motorola Solutions' carrier partnerships and its Integrated Digital Enhanced Network mobility offering.

15. Jim Harold, Blue Coat Systems

A big, big year of changes at Blue Coat Systems meant the ouster of well-known channel chief Jim Harold, who departed as Blue Coat's former vice president, worldwide channel sales, over the summer. Blue Coat de-centralized channel management in favor of regional leaders, putting Laurie Usewicz, vice president of Americas channel sales, in charge of Americas-based channel activity.

14. Mike Fouts, Citrix

Citrix is hitting its stride in a number of key channel markets, and its new channel chief has pledged to tighten field engagement to keep that momentum healthy in 2012. Mike Fouts, a 10-year Citrix veteran, was named to the role of senior director of Americas channels and field operations in November.

13. Karl Soderlund, Avaya

Karl Soderlund's a guy who gets noticed -- and not merely because he's one of the tallest executives in the channel. Having done highly regarded channel tours at Extreme, Fortinet, HP ProCurve and Certeon among other vendors, Soderlund became vice president, U.S. channel sales at Avaya in October -- a key position as Avaya looks to convince channel partners that its days of channel conflict are behind it and it is a true channel power following its integration of Nortel's former enterprise unit.

12. Patricia Hume, Convio

There are executives who like to change it up, and there are folks like Patricia Hume, who seem to be constantly on the move. Hume in August took on her second new job of 2011, leaving a top sales post at GFI Software to become vice president of worldwide sales at Convio. Earlier in the year, Hume had arrived at GFI Software following a three-year stint as channel chief at SAP, before which she was group vice president of Avaya's SME division and a 17-year IBM veteran.

11. Pat Piwowarczyk, D-Link

The affable Pat Piwowarczyk, credited by solution providers for successfully shifting D-Link's channel program toward value-based solutions selling from transactional reselling, was among several major D-Link North America executives to exit D-Link at the end of 2011 as part of a major management shakeup. His next move is as yet undecided.

10. Steve Hale, Sophos

A longtime channel veteran known for stints at Microsoft, F5 Networks and Novell, Steve Hale took over as vice president of global channels at Sophos in May. His focus is a cohesive global channel strategy at the well-regarded security specialist, which was acquired in 2010 by Apax Partners and itself acquired Astaro Networks in 2011.

9. Amnon Bar-Lev, Check Point

It's always nice to see a channel stalwart move on up the corporate executive ladder, and that was the case at Check Point, which named former channel chief Amnon Bar-Lev as its new president in August. Bar-Lev still manages Check Point's global partner program as part of his duties, which now include all of the company's sales, marketing, business development and technical services.

8. Andrew Sage, Cisco

Andrew Sage, among Cisco's most-admired channel executives, is the man in charge of Cisco's partner-led strategy, a targeted push by the vendor to drive more sales of Cisco products and services to SMB and midmarket customers. It's familiar territory for Sage, who ran small business channels in Cisco's Worldwide Partner organization previously, and is now Cisco's vice president, worldwide partner-led. Sage confirmed to CRN in September that Cisco would invest $75 million in new resources for the channel specific to the partner-led strategy.

7. Thomas Richards, CDW

John Edwardson abdicated the CEO throne at CDW last fall after a decade at the helm, and Thomas Richards, who became president and COO in September 2009, took over the top job. The Richards era at CDW may come to be defined by how well CDW develops it services identity in the market -- still a work in progress, solution providers say, six years after its acquisition of Berbee Information Networks.

6. Craig Schlagbaum, Comcast Business Services

One of the most vocal advocates in the channel for the convergence of IT VARs and telecom/service provider carrier agents, Craig Schlagbaum in January 2011 became vice president of sales, indirect channels at Comcast Business Services, where he's set about recruiting traditional IT reseller partners to sell Comcast offerings.

5. Luanne Tierney, Juniper

As defections go, this one was a channel doozy. Luanne Tierney, who had endeared herself to Cisco VARs in her role as vice president of marketing for Cisco's Worldwide Partner Organization, left Cisco in January to become vice president, global partner marketing at rival Juniper. Along with a number of other executives that have joined Juniper in the past year, Tierney is now busy building Juniper's partner marketing arm into a world-class organization.

4. Emilio Umeoka, Juniper

In May 2010, longtime channel executive and Juniper worldwide channel chief Frank Vitagliano moved into a new role at Juniper focused on Americas-based Juniper partners. A search began for a global channel chief replacement, and in January, Juniper finally had its man: Emilio Umeoka, former head of APAC for Microsoft. Umeoka is a driving force behind Juniper hosting its first-annual global partner conference, which kicks off in Las Vegas Jan. 17.

3. Dan Foster, MegaPath

Dan Foster exited MegaPath in January 2011 following a highly regarded stint as channel chief and returned to the company in mid-April as president, business markets. Foster is leading the charge at a critical time in MegaPath's history, as its channel expands and it emerges whole from the 2010 three-way merger of MegaPath, Covad and Speakeasy.

2. Leonard Iventosch, EMC

How things change. Leonard Iventosch worked for many years at EMC storage rival NetApp as vice president of global channels. But Iventosch, who joined EMC in 2011 following two and a half years at Isilon, which EMC acquired, is now EMC's vice president, Americas channel sales -- a key role considering the gains the vendor has made in the past year.

1. Stephen DiFranco, HP

It was an action-packed year for Stephen DiFranco, who began 2011 in one of the channel's most visible vendor executive roles -- channel chief at HP -- but in July was promoted to a new role as senior vice president and general manager for the Americas region of HP's Personal Systems Group. With the level of HP insanity reaching hair-ripping heights in 2011, partners came to trust DiFranco as a reassuring voice, and while he's no longer PSG channel chief -- that role was filled by Mike Parrottino in September -- he still holds plenty of sway with partners.