McAfee nets top Cisco executive to run its channel

Alex Thurber has been named McAfee’s new worldwide channel chief.

After several years at Cisco, the Canadian born Thurber will put a permanent stop to the revolving door at the McAfee channel team.

McAfee in the last few years has named David Dickison, Lisa Loe, Fernando Quintero and Roger King as its channel chiefs. Thurber will bring some much needed stability and innovation to the channel team. Something the security vendor hasn’t had since David Roberts was its channel chief.

I have interviewed Thurber many times and even spent some quality time with him over the years covering Cisco. He is a first rate individual and he will do wonders for the organization.

This announcement has Dave DeWalt’s fingerprints all over it. Since becoming CEO of McAfee the security vendor has become more serious in its methods and approach to the marketplace. Bringing in a heavyweight such as Thurber to run its channel means solution providers will start to look at McAfee more so now than ever before.

The one thing Cisco does best is take care of its channel partners. It is ingrained in its culture at the networking giant. Cisco partners on average are more profitable than any other I have seen.

Expect several changes to McAfee’s channel program and tactics now that Thurber is on board. I think the most interesting conference coming up will be on Oct. the 6 in Las Vegas for Focus 09, McAfee’s annual conference. I know it is only a couple of months away but I see it as Thurber’s coming out party.

According to McAfee, Thurber will be responsible for all aspects of the worldwide channel strategy and operations. His immediate areas of focus will be implementing infrastructure improvements to make it easier to do business with McAfee and driving pay for performance programs that will enable a value-based channel across the breadth of McAfee solutions. He will report directly to Michael DeCesare, executive vice president of worldwide sales operations at McAfee, and will be located in Santa Clara, California.

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