The 25 Blockbuster Channel Executive Moves Of 2015

Getting A Fresh Start

Many top vendors took a hit to their channel organizations in 2015, as Avaya, Cisco, IBM, McAfee, Microsoft and SAP all lost key channel executives.

Other vendors fared better in the musical chairs, with Autotask, Brocade, Kaseya, Nimble Storage, Pure Storage and Sophos adding either top executives or channel chiefs. And indirect sales leaders at EMC, HP Inc., Lenovo, Sophos and Xerox received promotions and additional responsibilities this year.

VARs and distributors also got in on the action, with two CRN Solution Provider 50 companies naming people from the outside as their next CEOs, four other SP 50 companies promoting from within to fill a corporate or regional CEO vacancy, and an SP 50 company and a distributor losing key leaders.

Bruce Klein

Bruce Klein left Cisco on July 27 after the past three years as the senior vice president of Cisco's Worldwide Partner Organization. Klein, an 11-year Cisco veteran popular among solution providers, "has decided to pursue other opportunities outside of Cisco," according to the company. Before becoming global channel chief, Klein spent eight years spearheading San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco's public sector operations and 21 years leading HP's federal sales organization. Klein was one of many high-profile executives to leave the vendor as Chuck Robbins replaced John Chambers as CEO.

Michael McAndrew

Black Box Network Services CEO Michael McAndrew revealed plans to step down in December after a rocky sales force restructuring and a 62 percent drop in the company's stock price during 2015. McAndrew took his sales force to task in October's earnings call, calling their performance "unacceptable" as a major restructuring over the past year had failed to produce any gains in revenue or bookings. The Lawrence, Pa.-based company, No. 34 on the CRN Solution Provider 500, said it has engaged a national executive search firm to conduct an external search for candidates to replace McAndrew, who held the top job for just 33 months. McAndrew's resignation will take effect once his successor is appointed.

Julie Spellman Sweet

In Dublin-based Accenture's second top executive move in the past 18 months for North America, the system integrator giant, No. 2 on the CRN 2015 SP 500, named Julie Spellman Sweet as its new chief executive for the region. Sweet had been with the company since 2010, most recently as general counsel, secretary and chief compliance officer. Sweet remains on Accenture's Global Management Committee in her new role, and will also be responsible for leading the company's business in North America. She replaces longtime company executive Stephen Rohleder, who retired Aug. 31.

Don Doctor

In their third CEO change in the past 26 months, Dallas-based CompuCom, No. 23 on the 2014 CRN SP 500, named Don Doctor as its new chief executive in February, taking over for interim CEO Jim Dixon. One of Doctor's first moves was to sell CompuCom's software business, which includes a select Microsoft licensing business, to SoftwareONE for an undisclosed amount. Doctor joined CompuCom's board of directors in May 2013 and was appointed executive chairman in August 2014. Before that, Doctor was CEO of data center maintenance company SMS.

Alan Marc Smith

In tandem with an announcement that it had been acquired by private equity firm Millstein & Co., Herndon, Va.-based DLT Solutions, No. 35 on the CRN 2015 SP 500, said in February that Alan Marc Smith would be replacing Rick Marcotte -- who led the company for more than 10 years -- as CEO. Smith is an operating partner of Millstein & Co., and is known in the channel as the former CEO of Westcon Group. Smith told CRN that he remained committed to DLT's current business model and wanted only to "augment" the product offering with services rather than undertaking a drastic overhaul.

Sammy Kinlaw

CRN learned in March that Beijing-based Lenovo will get a new channel chief in rising star Sammy Kinlaw. On April 1, the nine-year company veteran assumed the position, which gives him responsibility over the company's server, PC and storage channel businesses. The appointment came at a crucial time for Lenovo, as the company works to integrate IBM's server business into the channel. Kinlaw most recently served as executive director of North America channel sales, a position he was promoted to in October of last year. His appointment fills the vacancy left by Chris Frey, who was promoted in January to vice president and general manager of Lenovo's North America commercial business.

Gavin Struthers

Santa Clara, Calif.-based McAfee, a subdivision of Intel Security, lost its senior vice president of worldwide channels in March when Gavin Struthers moved to a new role at Intel Security: president of Asia Pacific, responsible for business operations across Asia, India, Australia and New Zealand. Partners said they saw McAfee's channel business mature and grow dramatically under Struthers' guidance. Specifically, in his three years as McAfee's channel chief, Struthers ramped up channel incentives and programs and pushed partners to transition from a traditional reseller role to managed services.

Mark Rogers

London-based Logicalis, No. 27 on the CRN SP 500, appointed Mark Rogers as CEO in February after a year without anyone officially in that role. Rogers replaces Ian Cook, who stepped down last March but remained with the company as executive chairman. Rogers first joined Logicalis in 2003 and had been serving as its president and chief operating officer since March 2014. Logicalis U.S. CEO Vince DeLuca said Rogers had a "track record of growth" and a strong history of execution, operations and finance that will benefit the New York-based solution provider.

Jenni Flinders

After 15 years with Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft, U.S. Partner Group Vice President Jenni Flinders left the company in April, CRN reported. Flinders posted on her Facebook page at the time that she was looking forward to her "new adventure," and she is now CEO of Bellevue, Wash.-based consulting, branding and design firm Daarlandt Partners. Flinders had been with Microsoft since 2000, and since 2009, had worked to get more of Microsoft's 640,000 channel partners to sell cloud services. Before Microsoft, Flinders held positions at IBM and Lotus in South Africa.

Fred Voccola

New Kaseya CEO Fred Voccola admitted in July that the Boston-based remote monitoring and management (RMM) vendor had "lost its way" with MSPs over the past several years by failing to properly communicate investments and changes that the company had been making. Voccola, who was previously a divisional general manager for distributed marketing automation platform Yodle, replaced Yogesh Gupta in the top spot. Voccola said he planned to launch a new, massive outreach program and an industry relationship program, to better understand the needs of MSPs. The changes are beginning to work, Voccola said in November, with Kaseya creating a new C-level position -- chief customer officer -- boosting revenue and adding more than 300 MSPs in the most recent quarter.

Stephanie Dismore

Hewlett-Packard rising star Stephanie Dismore in March was named the company's new vice president and general manager of U.S. channels for its printing and PC business, replacing Scott Dunsire. The 16-year HP veteran now is responsible for overseeing Americas commercial channel sales and partner development. After the completion of the HP split Nov. 1, Dismore is now positioned to drive the channel program for printing- and PC-focused HP Inc., Palo Alto, Calif. Before taking the new role, Dismore served as vice president and general manager of U.S. consumer sales at HP.

Dee Burger

Capgemini Consulting, the global strategy and consulting arm of $11.5 billion Capgemini Group, No. 5 on the CRN 2014 SP 500, announced in March that Dee Burger was its new North American CEO. The longtime company executive has been with Paris-based Capgemini for more than 12 years, most recently as global sector lead for the company's telecom, media and entertainment practice. Burger replaces former CEO Ken Toombs. In his new role, Burger is responsible for driving the company's vision around consulting and digital transformation.

Larry P rior

Falls Church, Va.-based CSC, No. 5 on the CRN 2015 SP 500, in July revealed who would lead its public sector business after it split from the rest of the company in November. Tapped for the role was Larry Prior, who for nine months had served as executive vice president and general manager of CSC's $4.1 billion North American public sector (NPS) business unit. The NPS business announced plans to merge with $1.4 billion SRA in August, creating CSRA, the world’s largest pure-play U.S. government solution provider. Before joining CSC in May 2013 as vice president of the defense and intelligence groups, Prior served as chief operating officer at BAE Systems and president and chief operating officer of ManTech.

Kevin Gilroy

One of SAP's top channel executives and a key driver behind the software company's expanded sales to small and midsize businesses through the channel left the company in July to pursue other opportunities. Kevin Gilroy joined Weinheim, Germany-based SAP in January 2010 as head of its North American channel operations and became the head of SAP's global channel business in January 2012. In that role, Gilroy expanded SAP's reputation beyond selling enterprise-class ERP and CRM applications to Fortune 500 companies. Gilroy was named executive vice president of the business-to-business division of Samsung Electronics America in August.

Patrick Zammit

Phoenix-based distributor Avnet turned to longtime company veteran Patrick Zammit in January as its newest global president for its Technology Solutions division, replacing departing president Phil Gallagher, who announced his intention to leave in September 2014. Zammit has been with Avnet since 1993, serving as president of the Europe, Middle East and Africa region of its Electronics Marketing group since October 2006. Zammit is responsible for global performance, strategic direction and day-to-day operations, reporting directly to CEO Rick Hamada. Zammit enjoyed success in his previous role, growing profitability by more than 70 percent during his eight years at the helm. The region also achieved market share leadership in several areas under Zammit's tutelage.

Kendra Krause, Erin Malone

Abingdon, England-based Sophos shuffled its channel leadership in May, moving former North American channel chief Kendra Krause (pictured) to the role of vice president of global channel sales. Stepping into her former role is Erin Malone, who joins Sophos as its new vice president of North American channel sales after holding the same role at Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Arcserve for nine months. In an interview with CRN, the new channel leadership said it plans to ratchet up its product and go-to-market strategy around cloud and managed services. The two executives quickly put that strategy to work, acquiring well-respected cloud email security, disaster recovery and encryption company Reflexion Networks in June.

Jeff Tench

On April 22, New Signature, a Washington, D.C.-based systems integrator that was Microsoft’s 2014 and 2015 Partner of the Year, announced it had gotten $35 million in private equity capital from Columbia Capital and named Jeff Tench as CEO. Tench ran cloud video managed service company Teliris from April 2013 until it was sold to Dimension Data in May 2014. New Signature co-founder Chris Hertz became president, overseeing the day-to-day operations of the company and reporting to Tench. Under Tench’s leadership, New Signature acquired Canadian-based Microsoft partners, CMS Consulting and Infrastructure Guardian, in May, Canadian application developer imason, another Microsoft partner, in November and Microsoft solution provider InfraScience of Atlanta in December.

Chris Riley

As part of a move to tighten links between its channel and direct sales teams, Hopkinton, Mass.-based EMC in May named Chris Riley as senior vice president of enterprise sales. In his new role, Riley has overseen the July rollout of a "federation-ready" partner program. Three months earlier, Riley's noncompete agreement with HP expired, allowing him to step up and become EMC's senior vice president of global alliances. Riley brings more than 21 years of storage sales experience to his latest role, including a stint at EMC from 1987 to 1999. Riley's second stint with EMC began in early 2014, after he departed as vice president and general manager of the Americas for HP storage.

Tami Duncan

After serving as IBM's North American channel chief for 19 months, Tami Duncan left Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM in July. The 20-year IBM veteran, who took over as vice president of global business partners in February 2014, left Big Blue of her own will to help reorient her life and career in a different direction, according to a company spokesperson. Duncan joined Stamford, Conn.-based Pitney Bowes in August as its vice president of global supplies. In a blog post, Marc Dupaquier, IBM general manager of global business partners, credited Duncan with helping partners advance their business transformation efforts. Duncan was replaced by Michele Stern, a 34-year IBM veteran who has served as vice president of global business partner sales for 18 months.

Kurt Schmelz

Xerox in January consolidated its two partner organizations into one, called the U.S. Channel Group, bringing Kurt Schmelz in as president to lead the charge. Schmelz was head of Xerox's U.S. Solution Provider's business, one of the two groups consolidated under the U.S. Channel Group, from July 2012 until January. The consolidation was designed to make it easier for agents and solution providers to do business with Norwalk, Conn.-based Xerox, as well as increase their capabilities and opportunities in different technology areas, Schmelz told CRN at the time. Schmelz reports directly to channel chief John Corley, and is responsible for leading the integration and partner strategy.

Leonard Iventosch

Former EMC channel chief Leonard Iventosch was very active in the job market this year, going to Seattle-based data analytics firm ExtraHop in January as vice president of global channels, then joining San Jose, Calif.-based Nimble Storage in August as the vice president of worldwide channels. Before that, Iventosch spent nearly five years as EMC's North American channel chief, leaving in December 2013, and was at NetApp from 2000 to 2008 as vice president of channels. At Nimble, Iventosch told CRN, he is responsible for driving sales through partners, with a particular emphasis on addressing the growing opportunity in the enterprise market.

Chris Jones

Polycom poached one of rival Avaya's top execs as its new channel chief in July. Chris Jones officially joined the San Jose, Calif.-based company Aug. 3, replacing Damian Artt, who left in April. Jones served from 2013 to 2015 as vice president of global midmarket sales at Santa Clara, Calif.-based Avaya, responsible for leading the company's midmarket and distribution teams. He also worked at Juniper from December 2010 to November 2013 as U.S. channel chief. At Polycom, Jones is responsible for leading the company's sales strategy and execution in the Americas, working specifically on building channel relationships, improving Polycom's go-to-market channel-centric strategy and evolving partners through market transitions.

Elmer Lai

East Greenbush, N.Y.-based IT management platform company Autotask added Elmer Lai as its chief financial officer in January, a move CEO Mark Cattini said would help fuel future growth. Lai came to Autotask from Cambridge, Mass.-based HubSpot, where he helped the company prepare for its $100 million initial public offering from December 2012 to January 2015 as vice president and chief accounting officer. Lai told CRN that readying the company for an IPO gave him a deep understanding of the ins and outs of the Software-as-a-Service market. He has held financial positions at Sonus Networks from 2010 to 2012, Airvana from 2001 to 2010, and Razorfish/iCube from 1997 to 2000.

Michael Sotnick

All-flash storage array vendor Pure Storage announced in April that it had added its first-ever channel chief to align with a new customer and partner success program launch. Michael Sotnick is now vice president of global channels and alliances at the Mountain View, Calif.-based company. He joined the company from San Francisco-based mobile platform developer Moovweb, where he was executive vice president and channel chief from January 2014 to March 2015. Before that, he was channel chief at Quest Software from July 2010 to January 2013 and Veritas Software from May 1994 to December 2004. Sotnick said he wished to expand relationships with the systems integrator community and expand alliances with vendors like Cisco, SAP, Citrix, Epic, Microsoft, Oracle, Red Hat and VMware.

Pete Peterson

Longtime Tech Data sales and channel veteran Pete Peterson jumped to Brocade Communications in November as the company's new vice president of worldwide channel sales, in a move partners called a "big deal" for the vendor. Peterson has been charged with building out San Jose, Calif.-based Brocade's channel programs and managing its go-to-market strategy. In an interview with CRN about the move, Peterson said he plans to leverage the channel more successfully and work to build stronger relationships with partners. Peterson spent more than 22 years at Clearwater, Fla.-based Tech Data, serving in the role of senior vice president of global business development for his final nine months there.