There is a new North American channel chief at Cisco

I’ve got to hand it to Cisco and its worldwide channel chief, Keith Goodwin.

Replacing an executive such as Chuck Robbins, who has a high profile, is well liked and, I guess, more importantly, is very effective, is tough.

Taking over for Robbins though is Wendy Bahr, who was the vice-president of U.S. field channels for Cisco. I had a chance to meet and interview Bahr late last month at a marketing conference in Miami Beach and I was very impressed by her.

I’d like to tell you why.

She was stuck in a snow storm in the Washington, D.C. area and missed her flight down to the conference. Let me tell you something; a lot of executives would have called it a day and stayed home. I have seen this countless times and I do not blame the executives for staying put. I had to drive in that mess to get to the airport at 4 a.m. and I too questioned myself. Well, it took her the better part of a day, but she showed up to the conference after many flight cancellations.

It just goes to show the type of character and determination Bahr has. I believe she’ll bring these intangibles to the solution providers in this country and in the U.S.

What also impressed me about Bahr was how quick on her feet she is. I had a concept story in mind on the top five channel marketing tips or trends for next year. Well, Bahr got in the next morning and met with me briefly and said that she needed around an hour, but would come up with some tips for my piece.

Now, you have to keep in mind that Bahr’s schedule for this conference had been compacted because of the snow storm. So she didn’t have a lot of time to waste. She was also one of the conference’s main speakers.

Well, I was not disappointed by her. She delivered the five channel marketing trends I was looking for with solid analysis as to why the channel should use them for 2008. Click here if you want to read the story: The top five channel marketing tips for 2008.

While I am sad to see Robbins move on (he has been promoted to senior vice-president of commercial, Cisco’s SMB division) I do not think Cisco will skip a beat with Bahr at the helm.

Bahr does have some pretty big shoes to fill; literally and figuratively. Robbins (a former collegiate basketball standout for the University of North Carolina Tar Heels) has been credited with increasing Cisco’s sales through the channel by a whopping 86 per cent.

Robbins had also built an outstanding relationship with Cisco Canada’s channel chief Ross Pellizzari, CDN’s No. 9 newsmaker for 2007.

Bahr will have some challenges for sure, but I think she will be up for the task.

One quick hit before I go. William Nelson is the new Global Sales Leader for Nortel Networks. He was recently placed in this post by Nortel President and CEO Mike Zafirovski himself, according to my source. His start date of Friday, January 18, 2008 is odd, but that is Nortel for you. Nelson has more than 30 years of IT and telco experience with companies such as EMC, Lucent and AT&T.

— Posted by Paolo Del Nibletto, 15/01/08, 10:57 PM,

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