Blue Coat Systems has filled a months-long channel void with a new chief, a move that promises to quell a year of executive turnover, acquisition and channel instability.
Barry Davis, Blue Coat’s new channel chief, stepped up to the channel helm last week, and will start off his new job by overseeing company’s partner relationships, according to reports.
Meanwhile, Davis came on board the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company as vice president of Americas channel after less than a year at cloud storage and infrastructure firm Egnyte. While there, Davis held the position of vice president of business development, overseeing strategic alliances, partnerships and channel development, among other things.
Prior to that, Davis spent a year and a half at security information and event management firm ArcSight, where he served as vice president of general business and partner sales, a role he held through the 2010 acquisition by PC and printer manufacturer Hewlett-Packard.
And prior roles have included a 10 years at Citrix — where he served as vice president of business development until his departure in 2008 — as well as Lotus Development, later acquired by IBM. Now officially on the clock at Blue Coat, Davis is now reporting to Eric Cross, vice president of field operations, Americas.
Meanwhile, Davis’ appointment could possibly go far to help reinvigorate confidence and quell channel uncertainty after a tumultuous year defined by executive turnover, acquisitions and program changes.
For one, Davis’ appointment promises a modicum of stability and structure by filling glaring holes in channel leadership. For the last six months, the Web security and WAN optimization firm was left devoid of an Americas channel chief after Laurie Usewicz, former vice president of Americas channel sales, resigned from the position after two years at the job.
Last year, then CEO Michael Borman was ousted from the firm after less than a year on the job, following a significant decline in income and sales revenues during its first quarter, coupled with a flat second quarter outlook.
That same day, Blue Coat named Borman’s replacement, Greg Clark, who stepped into the role of CEO after serving as president and CEO of enterprise software company Mincom, which was acquired the previous month by the ABB Group.
Then earlier this year, Blue Coat was acquired by private investment firm Thoma Bravo, to the tune of $1.3 billion. Thoma Bravo, no stranger to network security acquisitions, had acquired SonicWall in 2010 and later, network security solutions firm Crossbeam Systems, Inc.
However, the channel instability hardly stopped there. Earlier this year, the company revamped its Channel Advantage Program, which among other things, imposed stringent audits, reduced services margins and tightened the belt on program requirements in an effort to weed out those not adhering to policies or failing to generate profitable returns.
The channel revisions followed after Blue Coat cut 27 percent of its partner community, which pared the channel network down to 1600. Perhaps as expected, some of the dramatic channel changes were met with tepid reception in the partner community.
Safe to say Blue Coat partners have walked a long and often turbulent road for more than a year. And it’s likely that they’re ready for direction and support facilitated by static leadership. How well Davis can perform in his new role, reinstate channel confidence and soothe wounded channel relations has yet to be determined. However, his appointment at least holds the potential of ushering in an era of stability and consistency across channel lines, giving partners the ability to breathe just little bit easier.
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