A farewell to friends

A farewell to friends

Two heavyweights of the local networking industry announced their departures last week - Cisco Australia managing director, Ross Fowler, and Netgear Asia-Pacific vice-president of sales, Ian McLean. Both are headed for the UK, albeit for very different reasons. Fowler takes another step up the Cisco corporate ladder after accepting a new role as vice-president for service providers in European markets.

He was headhunted for the top Cisco Australia job back in August 2003 while at Alcatel, where he had delivered Telstra and Telecom New Zealand/AAPT as clients.

He has played a central role in taking Cisco beyond the edge of the network in key telecommunications accounts.

At the other end of the scale, he has also overseen the networking giant's attempts to grow its available market locally by establishing itself as a serious contender in smaller corporate accounts and, just recently, the Holy Grail that is SMB.

He will no doubt relish a return to his telecommunications stomping ground and the new challenge that awaits him in Europe.

Also headed for the exit door is Netgear's Ian McLean but he is jumping out of the rat race all together ... at least for now.

After a decade with Netgear, and another with NetComm before that, he will leave the local networking industry at the end of June and fl y back to the UK with his family for a well-earned holiday.

As for the future, McLean is playing his cards close to his chest for now and refused to speculate on whether or not he would be likely to reappear in the Australian networking or indeed IT industry anytime soon.

His huge geographical territory of Asia-Pacific, which included Japan and India, is likely to be divided into north and south but neither of these senior Netgear roles will be based in Australia.

Locally, Sue Ponder will continue to head up the channel with Ryan Parker responsible for its telco business.

We wish both Fowler and McLean well for the future and are willing to lay very short odds that at least one will reappear in the pages of ARN at some stage. In other news this week, it would be remiss to write a column and not pass some comment on the Budget even if you are all sick to death of hearing about it by the time this gets to you.

For my two cents, the failure to address the broadband issue is disappointing if far from surprising.

The government has had a hard time of it lately and has a lot of ground to pull back on Labor, if the seemingly endless stream of polls are to be believed. And tax cuts are a much more populist and tangible vote winner than technology infrastructure could ever hope to be.

As a permanent resident (but not yet a citizen) of Australia I will not be casting a vote, but Rudd would certainly be my choice for at least putting a national high-speed network on the agenda.

By the time I get a blue passport, maybe it will be time for him to put his money where his mouth is.

Somebody is going to have to take responsibility and build one in this country sooner rather than later if Australia is to remain competitive on the global stage.

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