Cisco & Novell show leadership with new Canadian bosses

After writing editorials and blogs for what seemed to be an eternity on the subject of Canadian leadership for Canadian IT subsidiaries not one but two vendors have gotten the message.

Cisco Systems actually promoted a Canadian to run its subsidiary here, while Novell walked approximately two paces out of the Canadian president’s office and found Ross Chevalier ready and willing to take over. Imagine that two home grown executives running two significant Canadian IT vendor operations.

Nitin Kawale has been with Cisco for more than 12 years and started as a regional manager. He replaces Terry Walsh who is going back toAustralia to work at Cisco there.

And, with all due respect to Walsh who tripled the business under his watch here inCanada, most foreign born executives simply do not understand the complexity and nuances of this market. Also Australia is a similar type of market toCanada and has a lot of the same business nuances as well such as being close to a large market place. For Canada it is the U.S. and for Australia it isChina. This inevitably helped Walsh.

I got a chance to talk to Kawale and the one thing that stuck out from what he said was that he was “grateful” for the opportunity.

I wonder if some of the American executives who come here feel the same way.

I have always said that U.S.-born executives use the Canadian GM or presidency as a stepping stone for bigger and better things, while loyal employees who live here get brushed aside.

I am very happy for Chevalier for a couple of reasons. First he has paid his dues and deserves a shot at running the Canadian operation. Secondly, he is a channel advocate and will try his best to create a win-win culture for Novell and its ever growing partner base.

Chevalier replaces Katie McAuliff, who is going off to run theAmericas channel. I do not want to be overly critical of McAuliff because she made a lot of time for CDN during her tenure as NovellCanada president and I do appreciate that.

The fact that McAuliff spent time here and learned the way this market works will only help NovellCanada partners since she is running that channel.

McAuliff is an exception to the rule because most of the time these American executives leaveCanada never to be heard from again.

Both Kawale and Chevalier wanted this job and to me that makes a big difference. You can’t have a top executive running a huge operation inCanada with one eye out the window looking out on to his horizon.


Two quick hits before I go. The Southern Alberta Microsoft User Community is hosting a special event tomorrow at 6 PM that coinsides with the SBSC Tour that is coming through Calgary on Thursday. You can register at

Also Cisco Networkers is on tomorrow at the Toronto Congress Centre. More than 2,000 people have registered for this event that starts at 9 AM.

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