Three months of movements in the local tech channel

All the appointments, departures and leadership shuffles in the local IT landscape during the March quarter

The three months ending 31 March might have ended up with the world in a state of lockdown thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, but that didn’t prevent a bunch of tech companies in the local market making some big appointment announcements during the quarter. 

The local arms of Huawei, HPE, Canon, Leidos and Konica Minolta were among the organisations to see changes at the top over the course of the three-month period.

Among the veterans of the local IT industry that made moves or announced big changes during the quarter was former Dell EMC A/NZ channel sales general manager Geoff Wright, HPE South Pacific’s new channel and alliances director Julie Barbieri and outgoing Konica Minolta Australian MD David Cooke. 

Commvault appointed Callum Eade as APJ sales VP

In early January, Commvault revealed it had appointed Callum Eade as vice president of Asia Pacific and Japan as it worked to strengthen its go-to-market team.

According to the back-up and disaster recovery vendor, Eade joined the company with “extensive sales and business development experience” and is responsible for driving growth across Commvault’s markets in Asia Pacific. 

“I am thrilled to join Commvault at this time of monumental market opportunity. Customers globally and everywhere in APJ no longer want but expect to be able to achieve competitive advantage and business value from their data,” he said at the time.

Based in Singapore, Eade previously spent four years at VMare, where he most recently held the title of APJ vice president of Software Defined Data Centre (SDDC).

Equinix named a new MD for Australia 

By mid-January, data centre operator Equinix had named Guy Danskine as its new head of Australia following the recent promotion of Jeremy Deutsch.

The managing director appointment saw Danskine relocate from San Francisco back to Sydney where he reports to Deutsch in his new role as Equinix Asia-Pacific president.

Danskine has been with Equinix since 2011 when he first joined as a global account manager in Sydney, which involved working with partners such as cloud service providers, network service providers, systems integrators, plus customers. 

Three years later, he relocated to San Francisco with the global account management division and was later promoted to senior director of strategic alliances.  

Prior to joining Equinix, Danskine led sales and business development for the service provider unit at Geo Networks in London, which was subsequently acquired by Zayo Networks. Before that, he held leadership and sales roles at Optus and Hutchison Telecoms.

“As Equinix continues to expand, introducing new products and services to customers in Australia, I’m excited to be home and rejoin the team here,” he said in January.

Guy Danskine (Equinix)Credit: Equinix
Guy Danskine (Equinix)

Genesys named Mark Buckley as its new A/NZ head

Also in mid-January, it was revealed that Genesys’ local leadership had changed hands, with sales director Mark Buckley stepping into the role as vice president of Australia and New Zealand.

The move saw Buckley become responsible for Genesys’ 175-strong A/NZ team and its operational strategy after spending seven years in various sales roles at the contact centre solutions vendor.

Before joining US-based Genesys, Buckley was vice president of enterprise at Alcatel-Lucent, having first joined the company in France in 2002.

The role was previously held by Gwylim Funnell, who was promoted to Genesys Asia Pacific senior vice president.

Funnell first took over A/NZ leadership of Genesys in 2016, joining from Telstra Software Group where he was senior vice president.

“I’m thrilled to step into a broader regional position to help accelerate the growth of our company’s cloud and AI solutions across the Asia-Pacific market,” he said at the time.

Oki Data promoted Tony Grima to A/NZ MD

Towards the end of January, print equipment vendor Oki Data Australia promoted Tony Grima to the role of A/NZ managing director, replacing Alex Kawamura. 

Kawamura was appointed in the top job in 2017 and has now taken on a new role leading the product development and business division of the business printer and multifunction devices maker in Japan. 

Grima joined Oki Data Australia in 2018 as its sales director and previously worked as the Australia general manager for Fuji Xerox Printers. 

Grima took on the new role on 29 January with a mandate to firstly focus on introducing the vendor’s new Oki Advantage Partner Program and online partner portal in A/NZ. 

His responsibilities also include propelling the company’s sales, marketing, account management, services and partner channel strategy.

“The program focuses on providing the assistance and tools needed to become a successful OKI partner and continue nurturing to build a strong and successful working relationship,” Grima said.

Huawei’s A/NZ partner chief departed amid restructure

In early February it was revealed that former Huawei Australia and New Zealand vice president of channel and commercial Geoff Wright was set to leave the company amid a major restructure.

Geoff WrightCredit: Christine Wong
Geoff Wright

Huawei moved to bolster its channel capabilities across Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ) through the appointment of Wright as its partner chief in October 2018.

Wright was tasked with building out the vendor’s ecosystem of partners locally, which spans value-added resellers, system integrators and service providers.

“Huawei Enterprise’s aim is to ultimately sell 100 per cent via our channel partners,” said Colin Hu, enterprise managing director at Huawei A/NZ, at the time. “Our channel is critical to support our substantial business growth targets of more than 50 per cent year-on-year for 2019/20.”

Wright came to the role just months after vacating his role as director of channels across Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ) at Dell EMC, a role he held for over three years.

Ingram Micro A/NZ boss Felix Wong exited

At about the same time, Ingram Micro’s long-serving leader for Australia and New Zealand, Felix Wong, revealed he would step down.

It was slated that Wong would be replaced by Tim Ament, Ingram’s US-based SVP for advanced solutions.

Ingram Micro said at the time that Wong would stay on for several months to ensure a “smooth transition with the business”.

Wong first began his journey with Ingram Micro in 1992 when he founded and led handheld and wireless technology distributor Advanced Portable Technologies (APT).

This was acquired by Brightpoint Australia, a subsidiary of US-listed Brightpoint Inc, in 2001, which was then itself acquired by Ingram Micro acquired for $US840 million 11 years later.

Ament, meanwhile, has been with Ingram Micro for more than 22 years. In his new role, Ament will report to Diego Utge, executive vice president and group president Asia Pacific and be based in Sydney.

“We are grateful for the work Felix has done in leading our Australia and New Zealand businesses over the past four years and wish him all the best for his future endeavours,” Utge said.

“I welcome Tim to the Asia Pacific leadership team and look forward to having him continue the successes we have had across Australia and New Zealand.”

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Former Citadel Group CEO appointed to Archtis board

On 13 February, it was announced that Canberra-based information security services provider Archtis had appointed Dr Miles Jakeman, co-founder and former chief executive officer (CEO) of Citadel Group, as a non-executive director to the company’s board.

Upon his appointment, Jakeman said he has known the team at Archtis for many years and was an advocate of its Kojensi security product.

“I am excited to be joining the Archtis board and look forward to working closely with the team in 2020 and beyond to deliver on the huge market opportunity,” he said.

Stephen Smith, Archtis chairman, added at the time that Jakeman is a “valuable asset” to the board.

“Miles brings a strong network of contacts and depth of knowledge to the Archtis board, particularly in his proven experience as the former CEO and founder of Citadel,” Smith said.

Avaya went on the hunt for a new A/NZ MD amid Peter Chidiac departure

In mid-February, it emerged that Avaya A/NZ managing director Peter Chidiac had left the vendor after almost four years in the role. 

While the unified comms vendor was seeking a replacement, Gerard O’Rourke took on the day-to-day operations of the company in the local market as acting managing director -- a role he continues to fill. 

“Peter Chidiac has left Avaya to pursue other opportunities – we wish him well in his future endeavours,” Avaya said in a statement at the time. 

In a post on LinkedIn, Chidiac said he was “currently taking a well deserved break after leading a major transformation.”

Chidiac joined Avaya in 2016, not long after the company filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection in the US. Despite this, Chidiac said he managed to grow the business.

Prior to his stint at Avaya, Chidiac also worked for Truphone, Veridian Solutions and Nuance Communications.

Miles Jakeman (Archtis)Credit: archTIS
Miles Jakeman (Archtis)

Riverbed appointed new APAC and A/NZ leaders

Later in February, network and application performance vendor Riverbed revealed it had appointed Frank Ong as its regional vice president of A/NZ along with Richard Steranka as APJ leader. 

Ong’s appointment followed the departure of Keith Buckley to Citrix in January. While Steranka replaced Bjorn Engelhardt, who moved on to Forcepoint.  

Ong retained responsibility for driving the strategic operations, planning and growth of Riverbed in A/NZ, reporting into Steranka.

Prior to taking on the role with Riverbed, Ong was previously the vice president of Idemia’s Australian operations and has also served as the managing director for Oracle Philippines.

Steranka was previously the vice president of sales for Riverbed and previously worked for McAfee as its vice president of global channel sales and operations.

HPE plucked new channel chief from NTT ranks

At the beginning of March, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) South Pacific said it had appointed former NTT technology solutions general manager Julie Barbieri to the role of general manager for partners, alliances and service providers, following Marina Fronek's departure late last year.

Based in Melbourne, Barbieri now reports directly to vice president and managing director Stephen Bovis, with a focus on the company’s everything-as-a-service model and partner route-to-market strategy.

Taking over from Fronek, who stepped down in November 2019, Barbieri was slated to start the role from 6 April 2020.

Bovis said Barbieri would be “an integral and valuable asset to the leadership team.”

“She has proven her ability to deliver on business outcomes, effectively lead and develop her team, and proactively build critical relationships, and I am delighted to bring her into the HPE family,” Bovis said.

Julie Barbieri (HPE South Pacific)Credit: HPE South Pacific
Julie Barbieri (HPE South Pacific)

Canon Australia tapped company veteran to tackle local channel ops

Also in early March, Canon Australia appointed Masayuki ‘Mike’ Murase, a veteran of three decades with the company, as its new senior director for Business Information Solutions (BIS).

The new role sees Murase responsible for the company’s overall leadership and engagement with Canon's channel partners in the local market.

Murase has relocated to Australia for the new role after more than 30 years of experience in the Office Imaging Products Group at Canon across the US and Japan. He is now tasked with growing Canon Australia’s business products and services. 

Most recently, Murase held the role of general manager of Office Imaging Product Operations at Canon’s headquarters in Japan.

"I'll be devoting a lot of time to our partners to continue building on the strong channel momentum created by the team,” Murase said in a statement. “Our channel partners are integral to driving value for customers so it’s my priority to continue strengthening these relationships.

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Konica Minolta named a new Australian MD after resignation of David Cooke

By 9 March, Konica Minolta Australia had announced a top level shake-up with chairman and managing director David Cooke resigning from the company.

The outgoing managing director is set to stay with the company until mid-July, the end of the Japanese-based printer vendor's financial year, while his replacement Yohei Konaka will take over from April.

On his resignation, Cooke said he had “very mixed feelings” about leaving Konica Minolta Australia.

“The choice of replacement however, gives me considerable confidence with regards to the future success of the company,” he said.

“I’m confident that Yohei will continue to build on the reputation Konica Minolta Australia has as a leader in areas such as human rights and ethical sourcing in line with the company strategy aimed at creating value for business, customers and society and meeting our commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and delivering that into the future.”

Christine ZeitzCredit: Leidos
Christine Zeitz

IFS appointed its first A/NZ channel chief

At about the same time, Swedish software vendor IFS said it had appointed its first channel chief for Australia and New Zealand almost two decades after opening in the market.

The company appointed Sydney-based Greg Robinson as head of channels and alliances, tasking him with driving its global partner program.

Robinson was previously chief operating officer at Precise Business Solutions, an Epicor partner. He also spent four years at Telstra Health, and has held roles at INX Software and SAI Global.

“IFS’s ongoing success demonstrates the appetite Australian customers have for a software solution that provides real business value in asset intensive and project intensive domains,” he said at the time.

Leidos Australia boss Christine Zeitz departed

By mid-March, it was revealed that Leidos Australia chief executive Christine Zeitz had stepped down after four years in charge. 

Leidos director of security and defence Paul Chase took on the top role, albeit on an interim basis, as acting chief executive for the company's local operation.

“After four and a half years leading Leidos Australia it is time for me to pass the banner on and move to my next challenge,” Zeitz said in a post on LinkedIn.

“It has been a privilege to be CEO at a time of establishing the Leidos brand in Australia and doubling the size of the business over my tenure.”

Prior to taking on the top role, Zeitz spent 25 years at BAE Systems across multiple leadership roles and also spent a year as Australia and Asia Pacific vice president and managing director at Lockheed Martin. 

Chase joined Leidos in 2016 following the merger of Lockheed Martin’s information systems and global systems (IS&GS) business unit, which he led for almost 10 years, and now trades under the Leidos brand.

"I am honoured to take on the role of acting chief executive for Leidos Australia," Chase told ARN in a statement. "Our Australian business has a strong foundation and I look forward to continuing to work with our customers to deliver successful services and capabilities.

Rubrik appointed Nutanix's Jamie Humphrey as its new A/NZ boss

Towards the end of March, former Nutanix lead for Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ) Jamie Humphrey was appointed as the new country manager for data control vendor Rubrik. 

New Rubrik A/NZ leader, Jamie HumphreyCredit: Nutanix
New Rubrik A/NZ leader, Jamie Humphrey

Humphrey took on the top role following Luke McGoldrick’s move to a new role as account executive for alliances.

Humphrey is now responsible for all aspects of go-to-market activity for driving Rubrik’s expansion in A/NZ and will report directly to Rubrik vice president Asia Pacific and Japan Kamal Brar.

“As we further accelerate our growth and investment in the A/NZ region, Jamie will be focused on expanding our presence to serve our customers on the journey to hybrid cloud,” Brar said at the time.